Hans Christian Andersen, the Little Mermaid, Soren Kierkegaard – Denmark has a rich culture. As well as with regards to luminaire design, the land of Lego bricks has plenty to offer.
The screwed shape of the pendant lamp Swirl provides pleasant glare-free light
Scandinavian design from the 1950s and 60s is still one of the major influences in European design history and is closely linked to the concept of functionalism. One of the main representatives of the influence are Eero Saarinen, Alvar Alto and Arne Jacobsen. But also contemporary designers are known for their minimalist, stylish designs.
Designed for a luxury hotel in the 1950s
Arne Jacobsen is still regarded as one of the leading Danish architects and designers. Born in 1902 in Copenhagen, he graduated in 1927 with a degree in architecture from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. In addition to his furniture classics “Egg” and “Swan”, his lamp classic “AJ” is mostly known these days. He developed it in the 1950s, when he designed the complete interior of the luxury hotel SAS Royal – the first skyscraper in Copenhagen at that time.
Even today one can admire the designs of Jacobsen in the hotel: a sample room presents the original establishment of 1950. Jacobsen’s style shows the influence of Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier. He combined modern design with his love for naturalism and created functional furniture with a clear formal language. In the table lamp “AJ” the head can be pivoted practically and adjusted flexibly. Even after more than fifty years, the lamp still enjoys cultural status. The director Stanley Kubrick was so impressed by Jacobsen’s designs that he used pieces of it as a prop in his film “2001: A Space Odysseey”.
Inspired by the nautilus snail
Another master of Danish design is Poul Henningsen. As a designer he was already in contact with the entrepreneur Louis Poulsen in the 1920s. From then on he developed important designs for the luminaire manufacturer based in Denmark. Among the most successful of its lamps for Louis Poulsen includes the different “PH 5” lights and “Artichoke” from 1958. Henningsen’s work concentrated on creating a glare-free light with a soft shadow casting and a cone of light which can be adjusted.
The lampshade of the artichoke is composed of individual segments which are connected via steel struts and arranged in the form of a logarithmic spiral. This mathematical phenomenon, which occurs as equiangular spiral in nature, provides an even light distribution. A sophisticated interplay of light and shadow, structure and mirroring emits diffused, glare-free light.
Rescued from the loft
Also in the Danish capital, the design label Normann Copenhagen has its headquarters. The breakthrough for the company, founded in 1999, occurred when they introduced the “Norm 69” by the designer Simon Karkov to the market. Since then, Normann Copenhagen is a flagship store for fashion, light, perfume, design accessories and furnishings – a cool hotspot for fashion shows, art exhibitions and parties.
The Norm 69 was designed by Simon Karkov for Norman Copenhagen in 1969. The lamp comes in a kit with 69 parts.
The number 69 plays an important role in the pendant lamp Norm 69. It is not only a small reminder of the birth year of Simon Karkov (1969), but it also refers to the 69 individual parts, which make up the light. You can assemble them yourself without much effort and without glue. As the source of the draft for his lamp Karkov used nature: “Nature is my constant inspiration. Norm 69 is inspired by flowers and cones. Whenever I have an idea I draw a sketch, which is then converted into a model. ”
He had tried many materials and production methods until he designed the robust and flexible Norm 69. First his light remained undetected in a loft for many years, until an acquaintance of Karkov encouraged the cooperation with the Danish start-up company Norman Copenhagen. Due to the distribution of the company, the lamp quickly became a worldwide bestseller. Whoever buys this beautiful lamp should have enough time and enthusiasm to assemble a real designer piece himself.
Dedicated to a baroque painter
In addition to black and white available in different shades of gray: Cecilia Manz devoted her lighting series to the Italian Baroque painter Caravaggio
A relatively new star in the Danish sky is the design company Lightyears from the small town Aahus in eastern Denmark. The label presented its first collection in 2005. The lamp series “Caravaggio” by Cecilie Manz has become a classic in only a short time. Named after the Italian Baroque painter, the straight metal lamps create dramatic contrasts between light and dark. The designer Cecilie Manz wanted to express these nuances in the gradation of brightness values in her collection.
The pendant lamp E27 by Muuto plays with the shape of the bulb. Cable and socket are available in various bright colors
She has managed to give the lamps an expression with simple, clear shapes and soft lines. Behind the name Muuto stands a young and ambitious design label, which aims to offer Nordic design at affordable prices. Pendant lights like “E27”, “Plugged” and “Unfold” are known internationally and inspire curiosity with regards to other designs. The label collaborates with young designers such as Louise Campbell and Harri Koskinen for its lighting collections. Benny Frandsen sells his light fixtures under the brand Design by Frandsen Design since 1969. The pendant lamp “Ball” from 1969 is even more popular today with its spherical shape and colorful color variations. Besides a hanging version, the light is available as a wall or table version.
Wooden and foldable
The Dane Tom Rossau still makes his lamps by hand as of today. He started his first design work, like many of his fellow countrymen, at LEGO. The international breakthrough came with the lamp “TR7”. When designing his wooden lamps he also takes into account the originality of the living material.
Le Klingt has made a name with foldable lights. In 1944 they developed the paper light “Fruit Lantern”. The founder of the label PV, Jensen Klingt, had the idea of folding lampshades, when he needed a lampshade for his oil lamp. Thus, the foundation for his enterprise was created. The suspension lamp “Joker” by Le Klingt is also well known. It can be easily mounted by hand and unfolds, depending on whether it is in operation or not, like a beautiful flower sculpture. Joker was created in 1970 by Christian Raeder and is now available again in the current Le-Klingt-Collection.