Found: hip lighting from Clas Ohlson

Last week I was shopping in Kingston-upon-Thames’ old market (image credit for the picture). There’s a Clas Ohlson just to the right of the featured photo which I popped in for, just intending to buy a new kettle for my mum.

Turns out they had a really cool range of lighting. They’d nearly sold out but the manager (Jim, maybe?) sold me a display model and picked out the right LED bulb. I’m planning on going back there today to see what else they have left and I’m hoping to get this one as it looks really adaptable, and it’s on sale. The display model I managed to nab is shown below and is a combination of one of these bulbs with the black base.

Unfortunately some of their bulbs have a label on the top that can’t be removed so do watch out for that if the bulb itself is going to be a centrepiece.



Style: Functionalism

It’s often seen as more of a cliche than an element of style, but the paraphrased maxim, that form follows function (or at least that it should) is an essential primer for all forms of design. It’s the idea that an object’s use should determine the way it is built and placed. There’s a contrast in the image above (credit: SEIER+SEIER) that perfectly highlights the difference between functionalism and other styles. The famous maxim comes from Chicago architect Louis Sullivan, shown in this excerpt:

“Whether it be the sweeping eagle in his flight, or the open apple-blossom, the toiling work-horse, the blithe swan, the branching oak, the winding stream at its base, the drifting clouds, over all the coursing sun, form ever follows function, and this is the law. Where function does not change, form does not change. The granite rocks, the ever-brooding hills, remain for ages; the lightning lives, comes into shape, and dies, in a twinkling. It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognisable in its expression, that form ever follows function. This is the law.

Sullivan explains that the size of a building, the spacing of its features, and so on, should as a law only be driven by the building’s function – ‘the life is recognisable in its expression’. An example of this is the two pictures below. The building is very simple, and there is no ornamentation. It’s implied that if you follow the law of functionalist, the end result will be aesthetic. And it is a specific type of aesthetic – very pared back, understated, clean, yet elegant. Some people find this boring, but there is still opportunity for variety in colours, and the surroundings of a building – the excitement is more subtle.

Credit: Stadshem (Gyllenkrooksgatand 13)

Yet what does ‘form follows function’ mean for interiors? This is the foundation on which a lot of Scandinavian design is based. Below is part of a library designed by Alvar Aalto, a Dane, in European Russia. The room would be relatively plain if it weren’t for the wood used. The plants could be described as ornamental, and maybe in this regard the room isn’t purely functionalist, but to me it’s about softening the gap between the outside and in. That has purpose.

Credit: Flickr user Ninara