Woka’s new web site

Marc Lalique chandelier woka

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):

Singerstrasse 16

Here is the centre of their home page:

Woka home page central section

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:

Woka AD10 table light

You get the info you need, plus a public price ex-VAT.

That “handcrafted in Vienna” strapline is important. Woka’s workshops are nearby…

Woka workshops 1

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 workshop 2

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:

Woka AD10 desk light on sideboard

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…

Otto Wagner chandelier

…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

Dining1 pendant light Josef Hoffmann woka

…was designed by Josef Hoffmann in 1903 for the Santorium Purkersdorf. Here is one of the pictures of them in situ:

Sanatorium Purkersdorf

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.

Posted in Interior, Lights | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sparks system by Daniel Becker for Quasar

Quasar Sparks system in a hall

Quasar will be showing in Milan their new Sparks system, designed for them by Daniel Becker. It is absolutely on trend, being a collection of components that can be plugged together to make installations of any size.

From the data sheet, you can see that only three shapes are needed….

Quasar Sparks data sheet

The connexion pieces have ball joints in order to maximize the range of possible angles. All the wiring is hidden and, since they plug into one another, only one electrical feed is required for most installations. Here is a close-up:

Quasar Sparks detail 1

Each module has to be attached to the wall or ceiling, of course.

So, what can you do with it? Continue reading

Posted in Interior, Lights | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Copper: Kin by Francesco Rota for Oluce

Oluce Kin 479 pendant light copper

Oluce have issued Kin, designed for them by Francesco Rota. One of the finish options is copper. The one in the image above is the larger size: Ø30cm (model #479). There is a also a smaller one at Ø15cm (model #478):

Oluce Kin 478 pendant light in copper

Other finishes include a black…

Oluce Kin 478 pendant light black

…and also a white, here demonstrating that if one is good, two are better…

Oluce Kin 479 pendant light white pair

…and, if you can, why not three? Or, what the heck, four!

Oluce Kin 478 pendant light four in a row

The light sources are a very efficient new generation of LED that runs on mains voltage (so no driver has to be accommodated) and is dimmable — a 4W ( 320 lm) in the 478 and a 12W (940 lm) in the 479. Enough for a sun tan. Actually, though photometric tables are rare for decorative luminaires, Oluce do them for Kin:

Oluce Kin 479 photometric

The diffuser (more obvious in the smaller 278) is plexiglas.

Custom arrangements are possible, as are and special versions — e.g. other colours, such as red:

Oluce Kin red installation

The result is very versatile, elegant, reasonably priced pendant, in two sizes and with a good light source.

Oluce Kin pendant light group


Posted in Interior, Lights | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Light Show at London’s Hayward Gallery

Leo Villareal Cylinder II Light Show hayward gallery

Seldom have different episodes of this reviewer’s life been brought into such brutal conjunction as by a recent visit to the Light Show at London’s Hayward Gallery.

When training to be an art historian, if the artwork was deemed worthy of consideration (by no means a given), much time and thought was devoted to it. Its value was determined by its context: its relevance to the development of an art movement, or to the artist’s career, or to the political perspective of the Feminist or the Marxist,  of the Structuralist or the Freudian. This did not worry me: as a liberal empiricist, I put the artwork, and my reaction to it, at the centre: the analyses provided by the various political approaches were all grist to my mill.

Things were different at the Arts Council of Great Britain, however. There, each art form took a different approach. The Art Department’s was the most extreme: it was assumed that no-one who was not professionally involved in contemporary art could possibly have any interest in, or anything interesting to say about, any artwork. The trouble was that we were allocating public money to the arts, and some interest in the reactions of visitors to funded exhibitions seemed to me to be literally  essential.

The average visitor should not have to be so deeply knowledgeable about in the context of each artwork exhibited. And, once you strip away the context, there can be alarming instances of the emperor’s new clothes, that are picked on by the media with ill-disguised glee (Carl Andre’s bricks at the Tate, for example) in order to ridicule the arts in general.

Many years later, at Cameron Peters Fine Lighting,  we are selling lights – works by the very finest architects and designers of the 20th century, some made by the very finest craftspeople. But the objects that they design and make have to survive with no context: specifiers and their clients have no interest in who designed something or who made something, and they don’t see any reason why the objects should be accorded respect or time. The light maker is therefore in the same position as the busker, who may be playing in a concert hall one evening (with all the cultural focus that the venue generates) and on a street the next (as all classical musician students are encouraged to do), where the members of the public are trotting by. If, as they trot, they find what they hear interesting, it is because of the intrinsic characteristics of the work being played, not because of its context.

Why is this relevant to the Light Show? Because quite a large space was carved out of the Hayward Gallery to create a dark room in which a naked lamp could be hung, quite near the floor (Katie Paterson’s Light Bulb to Simulate Moonlight of 2008)…. Continue reading

Posted in Articles, Features | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Copper: Sven Ivar Dysthe’s Butterfly from Northern Lighting

Northern Lighting Butterfly wall light  copper

In 1964, Sven Ivar Dysthe designed a wall light called Butterfly. Arguably the leading figure in contemporary Norwegian design, he is respected for “…his ability to find simple solutions to complex challenges with decisive elegance”. (A bit like me, really.)  Butterfly is an excellent example of this:

Sven Ivar Dysthe Butterfly wall light

It was originally made by Høvik Lys, and later by Arnold Vik, Norway. Northern Lighting relaunched the design in 2008.

They have now produced a version in copper which is heat treated, so each one will have a unique surface colour and material structure. Added to which, oxidization will further change their appearance, making each one more more individual — almost a living thing:

Northern Lighting Butterfly wall light copper close up

Northern Lighting describe Butterfly well: Continue reading

Posted in Interior, Lights | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Copper: 1516 pendant and wall light by Lobmeyr

Lobmeyr copper pendant light for the 1516 Brewery in Vienna

Perhaps it is the nature of the metal that results in the few copper decorative lights being so very good. This one is a case in point. Semiotically, it signifies an industrial pendant but can there be any others made so well, and from such materials?

It is the fascinating result of the Viennese American-style brew pub, 1516 (after which it is named), asking Lobmeyr, the illustrious Viennese chandelier makers, to create something for their interior. You can see a row of them in the 1516 bar here:

1516 Brew pub Vienna

The warmth of the copper is part of what creates the atmosphere in this busy, warm pub — a haven on a cold, snowy winter’s night! It also recalls the copper kettles used in brewing.

Though the shade is made of copper, the upper part is polished brass, and the trimmings (screws &c.) are nickel-plated.

The brass section has small squares cut into it, in homage to the hugely influential designer/architect, Josef Hoffmann (who, with Klimt and Koloman Moser, was a founder of the Vienna Secession and later, again with Kolo Moser, established the Wiener Werkstätte). The Viennese firm, Woka, creates re-editions of Josef Hoffmann’s pieces, such as this table light that has the same square cut-outs:

JH7 Josef Hoffmann table light from Woka

There is also a wall version of the 1516 light:

Lobmeyr copper wal light for 1516

I know what you are thinking: It looks exactly the same as the pendant! Continue reading

Posted in Interior, Lights | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Copper: Line by François Champsaur for Pouenat Ferronnier

Pouenat Line table light

Copper is a wonderful warm, soft metal. It perfectly matches an incandescent lamp that is running at less than full power, i.e. when the light it is casting is also warm and soft.

Yet there are not many copper lights available. This is the first of a series of posts that will introduce you to some of the best of what there is.

Copper is not an easy metal to work, but when François Champsaur designed Line for Pouenat Ferronnier, he knew that this illustrious French metal-working company could and would do a great job. Continue reading

Posted in Interior, Lights | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Makers of custom lights can also make other things for you too!


Fabbian Wing installation for Hong Kong airport

Have you ever stopped to think how many materials lights are made out of? Or about the skills of those manufacturers who can design and make unique objects, then light them, meeting technical regulations? Or how big some fittings are, that can only exist thanks to advanced mechanical and engineering abilities?

Now you have, I hope!

So now you can reflect on other things that they could make for you. This picture is of the reception area at 45 Park Lane.

Dernier & Hamlyn 45 Park Lane custom installation

You can see on the left a major art déco feature. Once it had been designed, nobody knew who could make it, until they thought of the great lighting experts, Dernier & Hamlyn.

We have been reminded of this by the latest press release from Fabbian. It features The Wing, designed by Foster + Partners for Hong Kong airport:

Fabbian Wing installation for Hong Kong airport 3

It is six metres long, 3.2 metres high, and weighs over eight tons. It is made up of twenty ultra-clear glass blades, all shaped differently. They are decorated with engravings that are illuminated by LEDs hidden in the base. Continue reading

Posted in Articles, Features, Interior, Lights | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marc Sadler pays homage to Michele de Lucchi

Jamaica pendant light by Marc Sadler for Foscarini

In the beginning (well, 2007), Michele De Lucchi created Giona for his own brand, Produzione Privata. Who would have thought that it was still possible to come up with a completely new way to use lampshades!

Produzione privata michele de lucchi giona pendant light

A year later, he created Noto for Artemide:

Artemide Michele De Lucchi Noto pendant lightThis is watered down version of Giona: it is now just drum shapes — maybe still shades, but not as overtly so. The combination of sizes, and the red end, do add a sense of motion (in this image, from right to left). The result is more commercial, though not very! It is a design for people interested in design and/or lighting.

With Jamaica for Foscarini, Marc Sadler completed a transition from lamp shades to rolls of paper:

Jamaica pendant light by Marc Sadler for Foscarini 2

The purity of the conception is somewhat diluted, however, because the paper rolls are interrupted by a fluorescent tube — the light source is under the paper rather than in the lamp shades. You can see it here: Continue reading

Posted in Interior, Lights | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Interior, Lights | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment