Design by Kauppi & Kauppi for Ifö Electric
A celebration of the material, production and the century long heritage of Scandinavia’s only factory producing pressed porcelain
Ohm is a porcelain luminaire collection for indoor and outdoor use on walls, facades, ceilings and tables. Inspired by old porcelain insulators, the soft curves and restrained silhouettes references the company’s legacy. The first grand collection by Ifö Electric in more than ten years, launched at Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair 2019, includes the first table lamps in the classic Swedish company´s century long history.
“We were seduced by the fascinating soft shapes of insulators and connection boxes, some of the first products manufactured by the company. We wanted to bring these silhouettes back into the assortment by creating something new, carrying some of its identity. The fascination was not only a matter of aesthetic, the soft shape proved to be highly functional for both bases and glass with great ability to diffuse light”, explains one of the two designers Nina Kauppi.
The inspiration from industrial porcelain resulted in a collection of light fixtures for walls, ceilings and facades. In addition to Ifö Electric´s traditional lighting range, they have also designed the first table lamp in the company’s history with the aim to enable a closer relationship to the luminaries. Contrary to the Ohm collection of fixtures for permanent installations, the added family member is designed for flexible use within an arm’s reach, on tables, next to a bed or in a window.
“We like to see our design process with Ohm as 'Slow Design'. Construction, tooling and preparations for pressing porcelain takes time, but is also allowed to take time. The extensive efforts are made with a long term holistic perspective in mind. Once the products are done, they will exist and function over a great period of time. Porcelain luminaires will survive styles and trends with a potentially longer lifecycle than many buildings. An aspect of the sustainability that ought to be more discussed”, continues Johan Kauppi.
The first launch of the Ohm collection contains two sizes of porcelain bases, in high gloss white or black glaze. Various glass shades create harmonic silhouettes with a short or high profile, in matte opal or clear glass. The main part of the collection, aimed for installations on walls, facades and in ceilings is IP44 classed, meaning that the fittings are water splash safe and can be used indoors in bathrooms as well as outdoors. The Ohm table lamps are IP20 classed, equipped with a wooden ash base and a textile cord with dimmer.
Ifö Electric is well renowned for their porcelain production in the south of Sweden. The company history started in the beginning of the 1900s next to the island Ivö, where the Kaolin clay was excavated. The company has played an important role in the Swedish industrial history with its production of insulators, fuse links connection boxes, and durable porcelain luminaries. The lighting fixtures have become Scandinavian classics and can be found in many homes and institutions. Designs by Sigvard Bernadotte in the 60´s, Knud Holscher in the 80´s and Duoform in the 00´s - are still in use and still in production.
The unique press production technique of porcelain allows fine precision details, alongside outstanding durability and insulation - characteristics perfectly suited for electro technical products. A challenging technique, requiring great knowledge throughout all stages: construction, tooling and production - all phases are performed by skilled craftsmen. The fine tuning before starting the press is mandatory - like an orchestra tuning their instruments before a concert, the toolmaker goes over and puts together the press tool parts.
Small clay grains containing 15% humidity are used in the process. A hydraulic press will create the entire fixture base, with all fine detailed threads and mounting holes, in a single stroke. The process of drying and high temperature firing the clay will shrink the base - with remained precision in all details. The result is a fantastic porcelain quality - neither wind, water nor strong sunlight will change the glazed surface.