Denmark is the country of innovation. That sounds like quite a claim, however, many of the greatest lighting designers have heralded from the Scandi sanctuary that is Denmark. We are looking at a particular era of Nordic design, throughout the 20th century, that was typified by the following designers:
Firstly, we have Verner Panton, often spoken about as one of Denmark’s most influential interior designers of the 20th century. He combined futuristic designs with 1960’s conceptual architecture, and was considered a frontrunner of new style and design. He loved bright, saturated colour pallets; and had an eye for the eye-catching. Inspired by an era of newness: new music, new designs, new ideas. His use of vibrant colours would be most prevalent in his lighting designs, as he believed it enabled them to have a more calculated presence within an interior environment. He truly had an eye for style!
Now this next designer was known to be utterly obsessed with light. Specifically, the light bulb. His childhood was spent in a remote Danish town, far from modern power, so this new technology fascinated him and drove his obsession. Poul Henningsen was a gifted lighting architect. His designs were catered to diffusing the glare of exposed bulbs, in order to recreate the soft ambient gas lighting from his younger days. He would often experiment with layered lighting to achieve this effect. PH was a visionary; we celebrate his genius here.
A man who worked very closely with Poul Henningsen over his years as a lighting designer & manufacturer, was Louis Poulsen. They developed the world-famous PH lamp, with three shades, together and would go on to innovate products that still seem contemporary today. He was revered for having timeless style, and an eye for the visual. Poulsen & Henningsen were commissioned by the government to provide lighting for Copenhagen’s forum building in 1926, and his modern designs still illuminate their rooms to this day.
However, no memorial to great Scandinavian designers would be complete without a nod to the revolutionary Holger Strøm. The innovator that brought us the IQlight® system; a ‘self-assembly’ lighting construction made up of connecting quadrilaterals. Strøm was famous for his use of subtle geometry and shapes; making statements within the world of interior design. Simple designs and clean visuals, this is the Holger Strøm model. You may recognise the Scandinavian inspired shades that he pioneered, still very much contemporary, and still very much around today.
Poul Christiansen is most renowned for his innovative lamp shades designed for the Danish manufacturer Le Klint. Between 1969 and 1987 Christiansen brought innovative and exciting dimensions to Le Klint's lamp shades. Originally training at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts’ School of Architecture, Christiansen worked predominantly in architecture and design for Ib & Jørgen Rasmussen between the years 1977 to 1986. It was in 1967 Poul Christiansen introduced a whole new Scandinavian twist to origami. He proved to Le Klint that it was feasible to fold after mathematical cine curves alongside the traditional straight lines with his most famous design - the ‘SinusLine’ series, giving the lamp shades beautiful and unique sculptural shapes.
Arne Emil Jacobsen is predominantly known for his cutting edge Danish architecture and product design, contributing significantly to the Functionalist movement, achieving worldwide success with his minimalist chair and lighting designs. Born on 11th February 1902 in Copenhagen, Jacobsen was encouraged to pursue a career in architecture, attending the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts from 1924 to 1927, where he studied under Kay Fisker and Kaj Gottlob - leading architects and designers of the period.
The famous ‘AJ’ Lamp created in 1960 is a direct result of the ambitious ‘Radisson Blu Royal Hotel’ in Copenhagen, designed by Jacobsen for the airline Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) between 1956 and 1960. The Arne Jacobsen lamp has a fixture head with a striking asymmetrical shape, a unique feature point by the designer.
The lamp head can be tilted, with the lamp incorporating elegance and sophistication in its innovative structure. The unique quality of its design has made these fixtures modern classics today.