Ramble On

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cabin Lore: Another Look at the Wirkkala Fixture

After the light fixture in our guestroom was featured in last month's Atomic Ranch, and I posted about it here, there were several requests for a better scan of the letter.  The purpose of this post is to oblige those requests - but I am also going to put up the scans from Mary's research into the auctions mentioned in Atomic Ranch's response to her letter. 
Here's the scan of Mary's letter to Atomic Ranch, and their response.
The response makes a reference to two auctions for similar fixtures, and Mary sleuthed them down.  I've taken the liberty of scanning her results and fusing them into images I can use on the blog.  The auctioneers' data is included for future reference - I know we get readers that share our interest in modern design, so these might be useful to them.

First, here is the Wright auction that was referenced:

The Wright auction features an image of a similar fixture, along with details of how they were signed.
We had a brief conversation with Kevin Thompson back in 2008 and asked him about the fixture.  He told us about his parent's enthusiasm for Scandinavian design, and thought they bought these from a Scan store in the 1960's.  He remembered the colored shades, and that the round bulb in ours was a replacement.

Here's the second auction from Quittenbaum:

Here's the Quittenbaum auction, which is probably a better depiction of what our fixture looked like.

It would be a real treat to see these in person - and it would be lovely if the original shades and all three bulbs had survived.  For one thing, they'd be valuable - since the auction estimates ranged from $600 to $3,000, back in 2008 and 2010.  

But that's how it goes.  Instead we have a great bit of Cabin Lore to enjoy!

1 comment:

quater15 said...

Hi!
If your fixture is made by Idman Oy as in the auction examples, you'll find the company name on the top of metallic sockets or a blue sticker on the glass shade, so this piece of information will not help you.

There where also other manufacturers: In issuu.com > Stockman Orno cataloque page 73 is shown Orno's version 'Silmu' pendant light for Wirkkala lamps. I think you might be interested in to see it - in the old days the acrylic was called 'plexi glass' because it looks but not feels like glass. Personally I'd like to be able to see examples of Wirkkala's lighting fixture design for Rosenthal.

The ball lamp is called 'globe incandescent lamp' and as you already know, not Wirkkala design, but much older lamp type.

The smaller lamp wir-105 is back in reproduction (Artek Oy) and should be available in US. One of the original glass shades will be back in reproduction during 2015. The bigger wir-85 is pure vintage.

I recommend the book "Tapio Wirkkala - Eye, Hand and Thought", Marianne Aav and Eeva Viljanen, Martina D'Alton, if you want to read more.