Apr 14, 2014

Coupé by Joe Colombo

As we currently have "all in" for renovation, the process of acquiring vintage pieces for our home is temporarily on hold. That being said, postponing purchases is one thing, but letting such a mid century jewel as the Coupé light pass when bumping into a very reasonably priced specimen in an auction would be unforgivable. Simply put, this is the rationale why last weekend, a Coupé was allowed to move in.

The Coupé was designed by Joe Colombo, one of the brightest stars among the Italian mid century modernists, for Oluce in 1967. The light is part of the permanent collection at the MoMA in New York and in 1968, it won the "International Design Award" from the American Institute of Interior Designers in Chicago. The floor lamp (3321), just like its little sister, the table lamp (2202) provides direct light downwards and they both have adjustable, semi-cylindrical reflector in stove-enamelled aluminium. Similar to the reflector, the base also has identical finish whereas the stem is made of chromium-plated steel.

Coupé next to a rosewood credenza by Arne Vodder

Cesare "Joe" Colombo (1930-1971) devoted his short life for painting, sculpture and design. In the 1950's and 1960's, he belonged in an exclusive group of talented Italian designers who demonstrated to manufacturers how effective design could help them to better market products internationally. Achille Castiglioni, Gio Ponti, Ettore Sottsass, Mario Bellini and Joe Colombo were the central figures who with their work created a phenomena today known as "Italian design". The tragedy, of course, is the sad fact that Joe Colombo passed away as a result of a heart failure on his 41st birthday. One can not help but wonder what the world of design has missed due to this unfortunate loss.

Tilting reflector 

But back to the floor lamp. The general condition of the light is quite good. Given it is old it of course has some normal wear and tear typically found in vintage items. The base has some minor issues on the enameled finish and the reflector has a small bump. Considering, however, the action described in Kids, Dogs & Design it won't be the last hit this light is likely to receive.

Signs of life

Lets wrap the Coupé intro up with a very particular "behind-the-scenes" shot which would make Ivan Pavlov proud. Urho's behaviour during the photo shoots has been discussed before, but as it now seems to be approaching a standard-operational-procedures rather than being just an occasional anomaly, it is worth mentioning once more.

So, take a look at a typical photo session set up here behind the Olive Green Window. Laying on the floor is an auxiliary light, this time the AJ Floor lamp, providing highlights and reflections to the item being photographed. Next to the light lies the assistant - our beloved dachshund. Without an exception, the moment Urho hears the camera shutter sound he immediately approaches the scene and positions his lengthy figure in the centre of all action, knowing that afterwards there will be a commission. And let's be specific here regarding the format of the commission. It is indeed a treat, not a bone. We all know the risk with bones and trying to hide them under carpets and between pillows...

Assistant on duty

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