Artek and TAF Studio have continued their collaboration, resulting in an Aalto-inspired collection of luminaires. The key elements in the new Kori collection include baskets, eggs and recycled materials.
AFTER A LONG BREAK, Artek has launched a new luminaire collection. The Kori luminaires, introduced at the Stockholm Furniture Fair in early February, were designed by Stockholm-based TAF Studio, which also designed the Atelier chair for Artek four years ago. A couple of years back, the Atelier collection was expanded with bar stools.
“We felt that Gabriella Lenke and Mattias Ståhlbom from TAF Studio were just the right partners for this project, as they have extensive experience in designing innovative lighting solutions. The lamps they have designed are as expressive as they are durable and practical,” says Marianne Göbel, Managing Director at Artek.
Based on a basket
Named after the Finnish word for “basket”, the Kori collection consists of floor lamps, table lamps, as well as three pendants: one with no shade, one with a dune shade and one with a disc shade. The thing that all the lamps have in common is the metal “basket” at the center. The basket provides both direct and indirect light, a feature typical of the luminaires designed by Aino and Alvar Aalto.
“We took a thorough look at the lighting designs of Aino and Alvar Aalto.”
“We took a thorough look at the lighting designs of Aino and Alvar Aalto to see how they’d made the lamps produce indirect light and eliminated glare. It all began with a metal basket, to which we added different types of shades that direct the light in different ways. We created various paper prototypes and simple models at our studio to see how light behaves in the lamp,” describes Mattias Ståhlbom from TAF Studio.
The basket element, which all the lamps have in common, also pays homage to the designs of Aino and Alvar Aalto.
“Artek has a long tradition of turning one furniture component into a system, as it did with the famous L-leg. We wanted to create a product family that used a single component in the same, modular way.”
Even though the luminaires are inspired by lamps designed by Aino and Alvar Aalto, the designers wanted to create modern lamps that reflect both TAF Studio and the spirit of 2023 and blend seamlessly with Artek’s existing lamp and furniture collections.
• Read the story: TAF Studio – the award-winning design duo behind Artek’s Atelier chair >
The right amount of light
The most challenging part of the design process proved to be shaping the basket so that light would be diffused in the right way. It took a great deal of effort to find the right curvature and number of vertical brackets so that the light source would be covered, but not too extensively.
“We tested various numbers of brackets, from one to up to four. We ended up using three, because that way the lamp looks equally good from all directions. It was also challenging to close the gap between the brackets and the basket to keep light from shining through,” says Gabriella Lenke.
In the colors of an egg
Artek wanted to create a collection of luminaires that is not only durable but also sustainable. The luminaire was equipped with the traditional E27 lamp base to make it compatible with the latest, energy-efficient bulbs. The basket is made in Italy of 100% recycled aluminum, and all the different parts of the lamp are made within 200 kilometers of each other.
The lamps are powder-coated in a completely new, matte white shade that accentuates the quality of light. For the extra-matte white finish, the designers got the inspiration from eggshells, and the texture of the Kori lamps is, indeed, quite similar to eggs.
“Yellow is a good color for lamps as it takes the color of the light in a warmer direction.”
“Every one of us has held an egg and knows how it feels. The yellow color used in the floor and table lamps, on the other hand, resembles that of egg yolks. Yellow is also a good color for lamps as it takes the color of the light in a warmer direction instead of making it blue and cold,” continues Gabriella.
Learning in the process
In the end, the process of designing the lamp – from the commission to a complete product – took about three years. The designers feel that the process took a little longer than usual due to the pandemic, among other things. Then there were also the world-famous Aalto designs to honor.
“Having such iconic designers and designs to pay homage did, of course, put some pressure on us, but that’s always the case when dealing with companies of this caliber, with such an impressive history. We learned a lot in the process: we read books about Artek, explored the collections of Artek and Vitra, and even visited the home of Aino and Alvar Aalto,” says Mattias.
“The pressure was, however, only positive, and it was really inspiring to learn about the old products and design traditions of the company,” adds Gabriella.
Mattias reveals that his personal favorite in the collection is the pendant with no shade, as it is the lamp in its simplest form.
Gabriella, on the other hand, loves the quality of the lamps: “Even the smallest lamp is heavy because of the material. It makes you want to touch the lamp and feel the high quality.”
“It’s like with the wooden Artek furniture, the lamp is extremely durable. It will stand the test of time, which is a good feature – particularly in this day and age,” concludes Mattias.
• Artek’s Kori lamps at Finnish Design Shop >
• All designs by TAF Studio >
Text: Katri Keihäri Images: Artek and TAF Studio