Last week, Artek Design Director Ville Kokkonen was in town to introduce the new White collection, Artek's first lighting collection since Alvar Aalto's classic forms were put into production in the '40s and '50s. Two years in the making, the White collection moves Artek's current lighting offering into the present by considering the possibilities of using fluorescent instead of incandescent lightbulbs—the collection rethinks the typology of the lamp and includes a medically-certified bright light therapy solution.
Using 15th and 16th century architecture as a starting point, each piece in the collection is designed to reflect light. "We studied ancient architecture—when there was no artificial light and walls were thicker—and examined the parameters of the windows and where they were located to bring light into a particular space," Kokkonen explains. "We looked at that from several different perspectives and that partly influenced the formal language of the superbright rectangular surface."
The Bright White 1, a rectangular table lamp that has been medically certified for bright light therapy, was created as a solution for the notorious winter blues. It can also serve as a functioning tabletop work lamp. In the research process, Kokkonen realized that many users of bright light therapy lamps tend to store their lamps after each use. The Bright White 1, "shifts [these lamps] from technical device to permanent fixture." Fluorescent bulbs are mounted to the back of a deep plywood casing to create a more narrow light cone. The front surface diffuses the light, allowing 97%-98% of light to pass through. A dimmer allows for users to adjust the lamp according to usage and needs.
Bright White 1
Artek's White collection injects a "newness in function." As people's work habits and environments shift to less formal settings (like the kitchen table), there has been a slower evolution of appropriate lighting. Kokkonen seeks to light up spaces—the old typology of a shaded form funneling light downward has shifted to projected light that radiates out. "It's not about the form," Kokkonen insists. "It's about allowing light to have the priority."
Watch the exclusive video interview below with Ville Kokkonen. He shares more about the architectural influences on this collection and Artek's new perspective on lighting