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Let there be light

10 September 2021
Heli by Katriina Nuutinen

Autumn is here and with it the need to adapt to shorter days, bringing challenging mornings and early nightfall. With the memory of summer, it's good to know, we can create warming environments in our homes.

The sun is our main source of light, providing energy for nature and its creatures of all sizes including humans. Historically another important source of light was fire, from ancient campfires to kerosene lamps then electricity.

The fact that light could be polarised was for the first time qualitatively explained by Newton, using the particle theory. Étienne-Louise Malus in 1810 created a mathematical particle theory of polarisation.

Jen-Baptiste Biot in 1812 demonstrated that this theory explained all known phenomena of light polarisation. At that time the polarisation was considered as proof of the particle theory. Then came the electromagnetic theory introduced in 1845 by Michael Farady, studying electromagnetic radiation and light. And so on, our understanding to create light sources as steadily evolved through the centuries and the design of light fittings is getting ever more intriguing.


Light is paramount for our wellbeing. Choosing good light and a variety of light sources for every season and for different hours brings variety, support and wellbeing. Its the versatility of light sources that create atmosphere and focal points in a room and with it making us feel welcome and relaxed. The quality of the light matters likewise. Mouth-blow glass shades are shaped by layering glass layer upon glass layer, layered glass diffuses the light softly while machine pressed glass lets the light trough in one straight line, creating a sharper effect, much less pleasing.

Bent Kalby

Light is largely manufactured by hand, comprising of many different components, a time-consuming production and the better the components, the better the quality, like the above pendant by Bent Karlby, moth-blown glass in brass fittings, a beautiful piece, simple, always relevant as it serves well.

Good light requires complex engineering, why spending money on a light fitting is a good thing to do. I often experience that people expect light should be cheap, maybe because we are spoiled with sunlight which is free for all…. but quality and craftsmanship have a price.

Good lighting quality in our homes and workplaces make all the difference of how a room is perceived, its less straining for the eyes and all senses. Choosing light with care pays back, it's supportive in many ways.

copper Artichoke by Poul Henningsen

With ever new technology at hand, contemporary lighting design can often be found simplified in form, possibly being perceived a bit anonymous, but new functions are constantly explored which add to their interest and of course time changes style preference. Whatever we choose, good light creates a viewpoint, adding a sentiment, ‘a story’ to a room.

Light is essential, we attach to it emotionally as we have an innate need for it, so it's worth choosing our light fittings with care. They quickly can become a friend, faithfully being with us day in and day out, such as the 'Artichoke' by Poul Henningsen, here and early version from 1958, still very popular today.

Good lighting design should never be visually obtrusive in the space, instead be complementing, never interrupting. Simple well-made objects never go out of style so the money spent on quality will support it, lasting for many years to come.


One of the newer light innovations are cordless, chargable lights such as here ‘Lucca’, named after the same Tuscan city, mimicking the warmth of the city’s nocturnal light, very romantic. These cordless lamps offer an easy transition for inside/outside use, making for a charming friend in any setting. 

Good light design often has a story as it was designed as part of a concept or a specific need, so it is the story which is communicating, additional value, enhancing the sentiment of our experience.

Vincent Van Dysen

The above light fresh on the market deserves extra applause as it is a bit innovative, both cordless and charging the phone…..... who would not want that? It has a patented ultra-flat lens with a very high efficiency and a rounded flat head for minimum visual intrusion. And the phone? The base comes with an integrated wireless charging system which allows to charge smartphones with no cables cluttering the desk, that alone is fabulous. A simple beauty supporting the everyday.

There are of course many more lighting stars that have set the standards for good design, such as Poul Henningsen’s ground breaking army of light fixtures, starting from the early 1920’s. Henningsen, like so many masters had a mission, to help inspire people to read and get educated. To do so, light was needed, not a common thing at the time when simple oil and kerosene lamps would be the only light-source for the many. So he started at the kitchen table, playing with plates, looking at how the parts best fit together to form a shade and off he went to manufacturer Louis Poulsen, who put his ideas into production, all still enjoyed today. Someone with a vision has a purpose and with it the result will be beneficial to all.

Poul Henningsen is one of many having contributed to the importance of light quality and with it furthering the quality of it. Below the PH 31/2-3, Poul Henningsen.


And for today, the year 2020 we have the award winning, almost etheric Noctambule by Konstantin Grcic, lending a magical light effect, innovative, simple, yet captivating and truly in its own lighting league.

Lets choose good lighting quality to support more ease for our everyday.