Stockholm: Svenskt Tenn and Michael Anastassiades

Michael Anastassiades Flight table light for Svenskt Tenn

One of the most exciting interiors shops in the whole world is Stockholm’s Svenskt Tenn.

One of the most exciting artists currently creating lights is Michael Anastassiades ( in our opinion, and as we made clear in our previous post about him, here).

So you can imagine how delighted we were to find that the two are cooperating. The backbone of Svenskt Tenn’s collection is the work of the Austrian architect Josef Frank, who worked with Svenskt Tenn’s founder, Estrid Ericson, from 1934 until his death in 1967.

Svenskt Tenn asked Michael Anastassiades for a “reinterpretation” of some of Josef Frank’s works. This kind of concept usually goes terribly wrong, so we were delighted to see that what he created not only demonstrates a fine, nuanced understanding of, and respect for, Josef Frank’s work, but also that his works stand alone — they would be credible designs even if the background to them were not known.

An example is the Flight table light at the top of this post. A lovely light. And so is the likely source, Josef Frank’s table light #2349 (look at the wonderful foot — delicate, yet solid!):

Josef Frank 2349 table light in brass for Svenskt Tenn

Michael Anastassiades has taken an idea which echoes a Chinese lantern and created an entirely new design that recalls a hot air balloon. Now the brass foot is a whoosh upwards.

The other lights (it is not just lights in the collection, but this is Fine Lighting News!) are in this design, which comes as the Cylinder table light… Continue reading

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Very important news! FontanaArte have opened a UK warehouse!! Negligible lead times!!!


FontanaArte Riga wall light

Yes, lights from arguably the finest collection in the entire industry are now available in the UK on extremely short lead times!

Not only have FontanaArte opened a warehouse here, but they will be keeping many of their items permanently in stock. Click on items in stock in UK to see which. Stock levels will vary as orders are fulfilled, of course, so it is still worth placing your order as soon as you can. They won’t necessarily have large quantities either, so you will still need to let them know if you want a lot.

But this is a very exciting development. It does mean that if you need something special at short notice, we know where to look first.

The list includes the supremely useful Riga wall light (above) that comes in five lengths and four metal finishes. Not only is it good looking from the front, it also looks good from the side (which is what you see of wall lights when they are in corridors). Plus it is safe: it does not protrude far and, if you fall against it , its curved shape means that you will just slide off. If people see it, they specify it — that’s how effective it is.

There are the classic 20th century designs, like Pietro Chiesa’s Luminator floor-standing  uplighter of 1933 — a single spinning and so no seams… Continue reading

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Stockholm: Sofie Refer

Sofie Refer

Actually, what we were most pleased to see at the Stockholm Fair was not a light at all, but a radiant-looking Sofie Refer!

In October, we were so concerned that we had heard nothing from her and Jakob that we wrote a post asking if anyone knew what had happened to them. So we were delighted to be able to catch up with Sofie herself.

As we’d suspected, it was a situation that we have seen before and which we advise young designers to beware of. Doing everything — designing, arranging production, marketing, sales, all the the day-to-day minute-by-minute trivial issues — is too much for just one or two people to do. At the simplest level, it is just that — more than a day’s work has to be fitted in to every day. But it also means that part of what one is doing is not what one wants to do. Some people want to design, others want to be bookkeepers, very few people have the will or the energy to do both.

So they have very wisely decided to end Refer + Staer. This is right for both of them. What is right for the rest of us is that their designs will soon be available again — through &Tradition (who already have Sofie’s Bulb in their collection). Now, Sofie can design and &Tradition will take care of marketing and sales, production and fulfilment, which is what they are staffed to do.

For we all need Sofie’s Ice chandelier: Continue reading

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Stockholm: Norwegian Forest from Northern Lighting

Northern Lighting norwegian forest birch large pendant

Cathrine Kullberg has designed Norwegian Forest for Northern Lighting. There are two finishes, natural birch (above) or white-stained ash…

northern lighting norwegian forest large pendant light white ash

…both having an inner layer of white paper fleece.

There are two sizes — Ø55cm H40cm (above) and Ø32cm H32cm…

norwegian forest small pendant light kids supper

The small pendant also comes mounted on little feet to make a table light. Here is the full range:

Northeren Lighting Norwegian-Forest-All

So much for the facts. This post was planned to be about the Norwegian company, Northern Lighting, and their use of wood. I was going to base it on PlankContinue reading

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Mario Melocchi, co-founder of Cini & Nils has died

Franco Bettonica and Mario Melocchi, founders of Cini&Nils

Cini&Nils have announced the death of Mario Melocchi on Saturday, 9th February. He founded the company in 1969 with the architect Franco Bettonica, who died in 1999.

In 1958, Mario was the first person in Europe to focus on packaging design, moving subsequently into product design. The Company’s early ranges were of accessories and furnishings, but in 1972, they produced the Cuboluce:

Cini&Nils cuboluce table light pentacolore

This is a light in a box. The lamp shines up onto the underside of the lid, which is mirrored. You can therefore angle the light how you like. To turn it on or off, you just open or close the lid — no switch to grope for in the dark! It comes in many colours and finishes.

The result is hugely successful bedside light, selected to be in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art and now available in a LED version. It also brought about a change of direction for Cini&Nils. Now all their production is lighting.

Their collection is distinguished by a rare purity of conception. They add a light to the range only if such a light is needed. It will be designed to fulfil that need perfectly, even if that means means using innovative techniques.

The most famous example of this is Tenso, the world’s first mains voltage cable system. Their patented connexions mean that it is the only such system that allows the lights to be reused. (Only the cable has to be replaced if a revised arrangement is required.)  The advantages are many; it is very easy to install and dim (since no transformers are required) and, since there are two circuits, the lamps on the cables can be put into two groups which can be switched and dimmed separately. The fittings are clean and elegant.

There are spots in all sorts of configurations: Continue reading

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Float from Artemide by James Irvine, who died last night

James Irvine -- dezeen

Sadly, James Irvine died last night at a hospital in Milan, where he had practised since graduating from the RCA in London in 1984, having gone there initially to act as a design consultant to Olivetti. He moved in the same circles as other design heroes of ours, such as Ettore Sottsass and Michele De Lucchi. He was to work with many of the world’s great design-led brands, most recently Thonet and Muji.

There is a brief obituary to him on Dezeen here, that inlcudes this interview filmed in 2010.

Also sadly, for us, he did not create many lights. But he was responible for one of the finest, simple designs — Float for Artemide.

There is a round ceiling version, Ø565mm H110mm: Continue reading

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How to pass the time in the office #6 — define England in pictures

Tarn Howes

It has been quite a while since we’ve suggested ways for you to pass the time in the office. This one sounds simple, but could last a lifetime…. We have been asked to submit some pictures that will sum up England.

Where to start? These are our initial observations:

1.    the sheer quantity of characteristics to which one would like to draw attention, and

2.    the variety within each one.

So, to keep the number of pictures down to a manageable quantity, each one will have to stand for more than one characteristic.

Thus, the picture of Tarn Howes in the Lake District (above) represents the English landscape. But it is not as untouched by human hand as it may look — it was adjusted in the nineteenth century to be more picturesque. So it also recalls the artform invented by the English — landscape design — that led to “English Gardens” in so many other European countries. It is not a million miles from a real English Garden — Stourhead:


This includes a classical temple. There was philosophy underpinning landscape garden design: if God is a perfect being, he must have created a perfect world. The trouble is that we’ve let it get into a bit of a mess, so it is our duty to tidy it up. What should it look like when it is tidy? Easy: a painting by Claude Lorraine. There are classical remains in his pictures. Continue reading

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Stockholm: Talk from Örsjö

Orsjo Talk applique white recessed

You think you know a collection….

We were delighted by what we were seeing in Malmstenbutiken in Stockholm last Friday, and were particularly struck by a neat, elegant table light. We asked Jerk about it and he said that it was by Örsjö. Well, we are meant to know about lights, we know the Örsjö collection, and we had spent plenty of time on their stand at the Fair just the day before. But we did not recognize this light — and one would definitely remember it. So, although we did not contradict Jerk out loud….

He was right, of course. It was Talk, by Marge Architects for Örsjö. There are four versions — floor, table and wall (recessed and surface-mounted).

The recessed wall version is shown above because this image shows the detail most clearly. There is a metal body, enamelled in matt white or matt black. Both have a smart stitched brown leather ring. Even the light it casts is good, from a 12V halogen lamp.

The table version…

Orsjo Talk table light black

…and the floor version…

Orsjo Talk floor light

…have simple forms that could not be improved upon. Continue reading

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Stockholm: the Noa pendant from Valoa by Aurora

Aurora Niemisen

When we are putting together our PDF Handy Guides to recommended stands at the major trade fairs, we sometimes put in a wild card — a brand of which we have no direct experience but, from what we’ve read, sounds really interesting. Our wild card for Maison et Objet was the Spanish company, PCM Design. When we saw their products and met the founder,  Paloma Cañizares, on their stand, their inclusion was fully vindicated.

As was our wild card for the Stockholm Furniture Fair, Valoa by Aurora, founded by the delightful Finnish-Canadian designer Aurora Neiminen in the summer of 2011.

That is Aurora above, holding their first product, the Noa Pendant….

Valoa by Aurora Noa pendants 1

…which comes in two sizes, Ø50cm…

Valoa by  Aurora Noa pendant 50cm

…and Ø30cm:

Valoa by  Aurora Noa pendant 30cm

The standard finishes are black, grey or natural white. The material is soft, like felt, but is in fact recycled PET (pop bottles). However, a much wider range of colours is available… Continue reading

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Stockholm: Leaf pendant from bsweden

bsweden Leaf pendant light orange

Besides their appearance, pendant light shades differ in the degree of translucency. A shade that is not translucent at all will prevent glare and cast all its light downwards onto a table below. On the other hand, it will cast no radiant light.

In fact, it may even be difficult to tell whether the light is on or not. The result is a dead object which obstructs views.

bsweden Leaf  pendant light birch


Bsweden‘s Leaf pendant light, designed for them by Marit Stigsdotter and Staffan Lind, is made from laminated sheets of wood — not translucent at all. But the way the four panels are arranged (prompted by a pad of Post-it Notes) leaves gaps between, so that some light comes directly out, and it is also possible to glimpse the inside. At no point do you see the lamp, so there is no glare.

There are two sizes — Ø36cm and Ø52cm. The larger one comes in orange and birch, as above, plus black and white. Continue reading

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