We are delighted to see Woka‘s new web site. Not only does it provide full information on Woka’s own production, it also draws attention to the fact that they also restore classic pieces, which you can see at their fascinating showrooms in Vienna, near the cathedral, at Singerstraße 16 (not the whole building — just the part to the right of the entrance):
Here is the centre of their home page:
Roll over the Art Déco light (which is AD9) in the centre, and it changes to the text Classic Lamps from 1900 to the present handcrafted in Vienna. This is the section that interior designers will enter most often because it gives access to Woka’s standard catalogue items. A product page looks like this:
You get the info you need, plus a public price ex-VAT.
That “handcrafted in Vienna” strapline is important. Woka’s workshops are nearby…
where there are craftsmen working at the highest level. Because they are also restoring classic pieces, their understanding of historic design and methods is constantly increasing. The quality of everything that Woka makes is of the highest, and priced accordingly.
Woka was founded by WOlfgang KArolinsky, a collector of, and dealer in, works (not just lights) from the important art and craft movements in Vienna at the turn of the last century — the Viennese Secession and the Wiener Werkstätte. His knowledge and understanding of the period is very deep, not just from handling the pieces, but also from his extensive photographic archive.
In fact, our one criticism of the new site is that there are fewer images from this archive than there were on the old one. It is invaluable to see the originals in the spaces for which many of the Woka collection were designed. But also, sometimes those images conveyed essential information. For example, AD10, featured above, opens out like this:
which is why, besides being a very beautiful thing, it works so well as a desk light, or as a reading light if stood behind a chair on a surface of a suitable height.
Click on the Lobmeyr-like chandelier on the home page and you will find the selection of what is currently available. It changes, of course, as items are introduced and sold, but you will see not just very interesting works, like the Lalique at the top of this post, but also, for example, this…
…which is not just a chandelier by Otto Wagner, it is the chandelier that used to hang in the private dining room of the “Erste Villa Wagner” on the Hüttelbergstraße. The documentation that supports this attribution is listed, so €73,550 seems a small price to pay for such an important and striking historic piece.
Key buildings of the period have been important sources for specific items, such as the Palais Stoclet in Brussels, or the Sanatorium Purkersdorf. On the Projects page of the web site, these projects are explained and the items in the collection that derive from them are shown.
For example, this light, Dining 1…
…was designed by Josef Hoffmann in 1903 for the Santorium Purkersdorf. Here is one of the pictures of them in situ:
Elsewhere on the site, in the Design section, there is a profile of Josef Hoffmann, and of the other designers and movements represented in the Woka collection. The result is a site that, besides being the place to find info about the Woka standard collection, is also a significant academic source of detailed information about the period and the movements, informed by experience of the objects themselves.
It supports a collection that is unashamedly aimed at people who take a deep interest in art, design and the provenance of fine lighting, so Fine Lighting News likes it immensely!
Woka focuses on a period that many people are getting to know a lot better as a result of a recent run of important exhibitions in Vienna, notably Gustav Klimt/Josef Hoffmann — Pioneers of Modernism at the Belvedere, that featured a reconstruction of part of the Palais Stoclet, for which Woka re-issued a Hoffmann ceiling light. See our post about it here. The catalogue for this exhibition. and a monograph about Josef Hoffmann are available via our bookshop.