The Anglepoise Giant 1227 (l); Poul Henningnsen classics from Louis Poulsen (r).
Though the worlds of furniture and interior design, like architecture, are often focused on innovation—the future, the new, the next—the best designs rise to the top year after year. This was more evident than ever as we beheld the countless cool and innovative design offerings at last month’s ICFF, many of which we’re sure we’ll be seeing everywhere soon. Among the most memorable were a pair of classics that are far from new but no less brilliant.
Poul Henningsen classic PH5 at ICFF
Providing a perfect example of this was Louis Poulsen, Danish lighting manufacturer and distributor of the iconic Poul Henningsen lights including the PH series and the Artichoke (some of which are in the MoMA design archives). Trained as an architect, Henningsen’s classic 1920s-30s designs, such as the PH 5, have been illuminating modern homes since their creation in the Frank Lloyd Wright era, and they’re still compliment-magnets in many a modern dwelling today. The elegant, innovative glare-free designs in spun aluminum and hand-blown opal glass have also been updated for the 21st century, proof that classic design needn’t be static.
New colors have been introduced: For the larger PH 50, muted olive and pink tones were added, and a colorful new line, the PH 3 1/2 – 3, was created, based on the designer’s original drawings, in honor of what would have been the designer’s 120th birthday; both turned heads and attracted crowds at ICFF.
Another enduring classic–perhaps even more so in its simplicity and affordable price point–is the humble Anglepoise lamp. The original 1227 model was designed by George Carwardine in 1934, and is so much a classic it appears on a British postal stamp. The newer Type 75 desk lamp was designed by Kenneth Grange, a hard-working and prolific industrial product designer whose creations have been used in homes daily for the better part of a century (a tiny sampling includes the Kenwood mixer, the Wilkinson Sword razor and the Kodak Instamatic Camera). The knighted Brit (He’s actually Sir Kenneth Grange) gave the light a streamlined, modernist look along with no-nonsense mechanical functionality; it has illuminated many a desk and creative office–who knows how many brilliant works of architecture have been launched by its light.
Again, there’s always room for innovation: This year’s ICFF focus was on a cool new collab between Anglepoise and another beloved British designer, menswear favorite Paul Smith. The Paul Smith for Anglepoise light mixes the designer’s signature candy-shop colors with the already-perfected function and form of the classic Type 75.
Another hit in the Anglepoise corner: The Giant 1227, made triple-sized (it’s over eight feet tall at maximum reach) for custom order; the outsized version of the classic was originally commissioned by the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre as a tribute to the Anglepoise lamp that Dahl used while writing classics like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” According to the line’s rep, it’s a favorite for kids’ rooms (it’s available in bright colors like lime, pink and yellow), and one was recently purchased by movie director Tim Burton, which makes sense, when we think about it.
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