The modern Kori lamps designed by TAF Studio pay homage to Artek’s past

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.

Artek Kori pendant, white
Artek launched the Kori lighting collection, designed by TAF Studio, in February 2023.

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.

Artek Kori floor lamp, white
The Kori collection includes floor lamps, table lamps and pendant lamps, all made in Italy from recycled aluminum.
Artek Kori pendant with disc shade, white
Similar to many Aalto lights, also the Kori lamps illuminate the space with both direct and indirect light.
Artek Kori table lamp, orange
In addition to matte white, the collection includes table and floor lamps in a warm orange finish.

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.

Gabriella Lenke and Mattias Ståhlbom, TAF Studio
Awarded Swedish architects Gabriella Lenke and Mattias Ståhlbom founded TAF Studio in 2002.
Artek Kori pendant, white
A sketch by TAF Studio and the final version of the Kori pendant. Left image: TAF Studio.
Artek Kori table lamp, white
The Kori lamps got their name from the basket-like structure of the shade – Kori is Finnish for “basket”.
Artek Kori pendant with dune shade, white
The classic form language of the dune shade makes it well-suited, for example, over a dining table.
Artek Kori floor lamp, orange
The yellow-orange hue of the Kori floor lamp resembles the color of an egg yolk.
TAF Studio and Artek have collaborated before: in 2018, TAF Studio designed the Atelier chairs for the new restaurant in the Swedish National Museum, and a couple of years ago bar stools were added to the collection.

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.

Artek Kori pendant with dune shade, white
The different models in the Kori collection direct light in different ways.
Artek Kori pendant with dune shade, white
The dune shade redirects the lamp’s diffused uplight back down. Left image: TAF Studio.
The version with a disc shade is ideal for a smaller dining table, counter or desk.
Artek Kori table lamp, orange
The Kori table lamp represents a completely new luminaire type in the Artek portfolio.

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.

Artek Kori table lamp, white
The Kori table lamp makes a great desk light. The Kaari desk and Rival chair are also from Artek.
Artek Kori floor lamp, orange
Equally suitable as a reading light or mood light, the shape of the Kori floor lamp brings to mind a lamppost or perhaps a lighthouse.
The elegant pendant with no shade provides both direct and indirect light, which makes it perfect for both mood lighting and use in groups.

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.

See also:

Artek’s Kori lamps at Finnish Design Shop >
All designs by TAF Studio >

Text: Katri Keihäri Images: Artek and TAF Studio

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