As the darker fall evenings set in, thoughts turn to home lighting. Design Stories’ column seeks answers to questions that puzzle design lovers around the world.
FINNISH DESIGN SHOP'S customer service experts are often asked about the suitability of particular home lighting, both from the perspective of interior design and installation. You should make certain you’re choosing the right luminaire before you buy, because manufacturers further develop their products and electronics standards change from time to time. If the information on the product page leaves you none the wiser, our customer service will be happy to find answers to even the trickiest questions.
This Design Stories column provides answers to popular questions, which may be helpful and inspirational to others, as well. Miina Lindblad from Finnish Design Shop’s customer service team answers the questions.
1. How can Artek’s A330S brass luminaire keep its shine?
“The Savoy version of Artek’s A330S pendant lamp has a polished brass surface that has not been coated in any way. For this reason, the brass slowly oxidizes through contact with the air to develop a beautiful patina, making it somewhat darker. However, patination often occurs unevenly, as parts of the surface that have been marked by fingerprints or water droplets, for example, tend to darken faster than the surrounding areas. It’s therefore important to handle the luminaire carefully during installation and cleaning.
The brass starts to gradually darken as soon as the luminaire is manufactured, and there is no way to prevent this. The unique patina that the Savoy version of the luminaire takes on over time is part of its charm. It’s possible to restart the patination process from the beginning by polishing carefully the outer surface of the luminaire, using polishing cloths or brass polish.
“The unique patina that the A330S Savoy version takes on over time is part of its charm.”
The better-known model of the A330S luminaire, or Golden Bell, is now also manufactured in a fully brass version. This also applies to the A330S wall lamp. This change of material has just been made, and product development has further improved the environmental friendliness of the manufacturing process and the consistency of product quality. The difference from the Savoy version is in the surface treatment. The inner surface of the luminaire is painted white, and the exterior has been lacquered after polishing to ensure that its golden gleam and lighter tone last much longer than is possible with uncoated brass. Over the decades, of course, even lacquered brass will also lose a little of its shine. The varnished surface should not be polished or scrubbed, as this could damage the varnish. The exposed brass would then begin to patinate.
If choosing Alvar Aalto’s delightful A330S classic luminaire, you should keep in mind that the brass will patinate over time. If you want the surface to retains its lighter tone and shine for longer, go for the lacquered version.”
2. Does Secto Design’s Octo 4240 luminaire have a plug for connecting it to the ceiling?
“Our Secto Design luminaires are sold with a ceiling plug. The technical details on the product page always mention if the luminaire is fitted with a ceiling plug. If it is not mentioned, the luminaire is connected to the electricity supply with a terminal block.
If the ceiling connection in your home does not have a socket to plug the luminaire into, the plug can be easily removed or cut off the electric cable of the luminaire and replaced with a terminal block for connecting it to the electricity supply. If electrical sockets need to be opened or fixed electrical installations need to be modified in order to connect the luminaire to the power supply, this should only be done by an electrician. The country-specific rules for such specialized work must be followed. If you are in any doubt, we strongly recommend hiring an electrician to do the work.”
3. Can the oil reservoir in Skagerak’s Bollard oil lamp be replaced if necessary?
“Yes, it can. We have replacement oil reservoirs in stock for these lamps, and they can be ordered through our customer service. We also sell replacement glass part for the Bollard oil lamp.
Many of the design items we sell are extremely durable and will last from generation to generation. But if something does break, the first thing you should do is contact us to find out if the part can be replaced. With the right spare part, the useful life of the design item may double, so it will last even for future generations or a completely new owner.”
Miina Lindblad works as a design sales representative in Finnish Design Shop’s Customer Service team. Her design treasures include a self-designed lamp based on an old spinning wheel, and underneath it, her latest acquisition, Artek’s Trienna table.
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Text: Miina Lindblad Illustration: Evi Rinkinen