Feb 2, 2013

Northern Lights

We have been collecting antiques for quite a while. Instead of a hobby, it has rather become a way of living, covering all kinds of household items. Interestingly, it all started from collecting vintage lights, and at some point, things got a bit crazy. When Pekka still lived in his old apartment, the shelves of his walk-in closet were so packed with vintage lights there was really no more room for clothes. Since then, we have tuned it down a notch, but there still are many, many lights around the apartment, both in use and in storage. Here are some selected pieces we would like to introduce to you!

In interior design, lighting plays an important role not only from a functional viewpoint (in other words, providing light where it is needed) but also in setting up the ambience of a given space. Given this, lights can be roughly divided in to two distinctive gategories: the "mood lights" and the "functional lights". Additionally, even though most lights in our apartment are from the fifties and sixties, there are some which go back all the way to 1946 and maybe surprisingly also some which are brand new (similarly to the new sofa in the living room).

In our previous postings you have already seen a lot of different lights that we have, yet there are many to be seen. So let's take a little tour, shall we? Starting from the bedroom, above the night stands are the newest lights of the collection. They are Tom Dixon's Beat Lights, falling clearly to the mood light category. Indeed, they are mood lights up to the point that if you are searching for a proper reading light, this is definitely NOT your choice. They provide almost no functional light, and if we'd do ANY reading in bed, they would need to be changed.

Beat light by Tom Dixon

The design of the Beat Lights originated from Dixon's trip to India. Inspired by the local craftsmen, these painted brass lights came to employ some of the traditional techniques Dixon came across during his trip, for example they are spun and hand beaten by skilled craftsmen in Northern India. The way the light makes the brass shine is just beautiful, and the reason why these "non-functional / non-vintage" mood lights still stay in their places.

One of the oldest light of the collection, Paavo Tynell's Tähtitaivas ("Starry Sky"), also resides in the bedroom. This light was produced around 1946 by Taito Oy. The light housing has a typical perforation of small holes found in several Tynell lights. Actually, the rumor is that it was Alvar Aalto who noted this series of small holes reminded him of his grandmothers nickers (isoäidin pitsipöksyt). Tynell's lights are another great example of mood lights. They have often been used in spaces calling for a certain ambience, like cafes, restaurants and movie theaters. On the other hand, they were never renowned for being technologially advanced when compared with the other new arrivals back in the days.

Tähtitaivas by Paavo Tynell for Taito Oy

Even if these two lights are separated by 60 years of age they still work quite nicely together. They both are mood lights, and very appropriate for the bedroom ambience. They also match in terms of color and material, both having a painted matte black exterior surface and a shiny brass interior, which lights up nicely when the light is turned on. Stunning!

The oddball of the bedroom is a ball-shaped light designed by Heikki Turunen from 1970's. Manufactured by Finnish manufacturer Orno, several modifications of this light exist, one of the being this standing version. The round part of this light had actually been designed earlier by an unknown designer. As the design of this light differs significantly from the two other bedroom lights, it wouldn't be surprising if instead of staying here, it would move to some other, more suitable location in the apartment.

Heikki Turunen for Orno

A great example of a functional light is a very anonymous and humble light by Hans Bergström for Swedish company Atelje Lyktan. His table lamp from 1960's, which has a foot stand of black leather, matte black painted share and an adjustable arm, does not stand up too much but located next to the Eames lounge chair, provides a great reading light to a person sitting in the chair.

Table light by Hans Bergstrom for Atelje Lyktan

A pair of lights currently (and unfortunately) in storage, is a pair of Globals by Frank Ligtelijn for Raak from 1960's. Raak has manufactured a wide range of lighting sources including wall and standing lamps as well as hanging models. Designs were often combinations of glass and various metals adding futuristic effect. It is surprising that these two glass balls with 35 cm diameter survived intact from Netherlands to Finland, and subsequently our move from Tapiola to Niittykumpu. We absolutely adore these lights, but as they currently have no set place in our apartment, they are on sale. However, it remains to be seen if we will be able to let this beautiful pair go if (or when) the time comes...

Global by Frank Ligtelijn for Raak

Remember the hunt for the Biny Zodiacs? Well, it has now been ongoing for a few months and as a result we have managed to acquire two more scones. In total, there are now three of Zodiacs in the apartment. Actually there is one more, but as this one is a bit different with a clip it is for sale. We have placed the three Zodiacs to the old electricity sockets found in the ceiling and then tried to find something interesting to light up. The one close to the atrium terrace now emits light to the wooden curtain. The second Zodiac closer to the fireplace has been directed to the Eames house bird, and the third one lights up the two ceramic plates by Lisa Larsson.

Zodiac and the wooden curtain

Zodiac and the House Bird


  1. Hei! Osaisitteko auttaa näiden Zodiac-spottien kanssa. Innoittamananne olen harkitsemassa tällaisten spottien hankintaa keittiöön saarekkeen yläpuolelle. Nyt alkoi mietityttämään, että kuinka paljon valaisimen nivel antaa lamppuosan kääntyä, eli saako valon asettumaan kohtisuorasti alaspäin? Kiitos vastauksestanne jo etukäteen!

    1. Moi Anna! Mukava kuulla, että ko. valaisimet kiinnostaa myös sinua. Ovat hienoja:) Kokeilin juuri kääntää valaisinta kohtisuoraan alas, mutta niin vaan on, että täysin kohtisuoraan niitä ei saa. Jää pikkasen vajaaksi.. Otin siitä sulle kuvan, joten haluat niin voin lähettää sen sulle arviointia varten? Viikonloppuja! Pekka

  2. Hei! Hieno juttu. Voit laittaa kuvan sähköpostiini anskumansku76(at)hotmail.fi. Mitä itse arvioisit, soveltuisivatkohan spotit työvaloiksi keittiötasolle?

    Ps. Urholle rapsutusterveiset! Tässä taloudessa ollaan HC-mäyrisfaneja.