There was a bit of excitement in the Scandiwegians’ gingerbread cottage yesterday!
Our fellow vintage enthusiasts will appreciate this sort of excitement - we finally got an ID on a beautiful, but previously unidentified, vintage pendant lamp!
Since my dad started his pre-retirement (it’s a thing in Denmark!), he’s been volunteering at the local council of the small town where he lives. He spent his career in a demanding role at a Danish industrial company. He likes to keep his brain busy and his experience adds a useful perspective to the small town’s council (kommune in Danish) as it plans for the future.
Through contacts he made there, in October we were invited to take a look at some vintage lighting in the house of the, now retired, former town architect. Town architect as in he was the resident architect in the small town, he didn’t actually design the town itself, it’s hundreds of years old!
As you might imagine, the architect lives in an absolutely beautiful old house! It’s a three or four storey terrace, right in the cobble-stoned historic centre of the town. It was wonderful just to get a chance to take a glimpse behind the impressive front door, and it was every bit as stylishly designed inside as we could have hoped.
The lamps we were to take a look at were up in the draughty attic, accessed by a steep rickety wooden staircase that we were told not to rely on the handrail of.
Up there, among other items, we were shown three large pendant lamps, all of which we were told the architect had bought new in the 1960s/70s.
A ‘SAS Royal’ Lamp designed by that most renowned of Danish architects, Arne Jacobsen, for the Copenhagen hotel of the same name that opened in 1960. It was the same hotel that Jacobsen designed the iconic Swan and Egg chairs for;
A very large unidentified mystery lamp that I christened The Wok for reasons that become obvious when you see it and for want of a better way of referring to it.
All three lamps carefully made their way down the rickety staircase and eventually back to our gingerbread cottage where I set about refurbishing them and, in the case of The Wok, of trying to identify it!
We knew it was beautiful, we knew it was high quality and an impressive size. We had the first hand provenance so knew its approximate age, and we thought it likely, because of its age and its previous owner, that it was Danish and probably a high end item. But without that crucial ID something was just missing. All that our attempts at an ID had produced, was the knowledge that this elusive lamp wasn’t one of the more commonly found Danish designs!
The breakthrough was remarkably simple in the end. When dismantling it to thoroughly clean it and refurbish the electrics, we found a sticker with a model number (1041), as well as the reassuring ‘Made in Denmark’.
And there we have it, it’s a Calot lamp designed by Claus Bonderup and Torsten Thorup for Fog & Mørup in nearby Aarhus in around 1970, while they were still students of - yes - architecture! Pleasingly, we found that one is still a practicing architect in Copenhagen, whilst the other is now a professor at the University of Aalborg.
Knowing its credentials doesn’t change the pared back elegance or impressive size of this beautiful vintage lamp, but it sure does feel good to finally be able to put a name to it, other than The Wok of course!
This image from the Fog & Mørup 1975 catalogue was found on danish-lights.com