The precursor to Bent Karlby's Pan series for Lyfa
Most collectors of midcentury Danish lighting are aware of Bent Karlby's designs for Lyfa, which include several of the company's most sought-after pieces such as the Påfugl (Peacock) and the Kvadrille. But few know that he also designed lights for another Danish manufacturer, A Schrøder Kemi A/S (aka ASK Belysning) of Juelsminde. Among these are the Pan, a trio comprising pendant light, table lamp and wall light:
All three lights are made of acrylic, specifically Plexiglas, and ASK Belysning's tagline was "Danish Plexiglas Lighting", suggesting that this was the only material they used. Indeed, the word Kemi (chemistry in English) in their title indicates that their core business was the production of polymers. So we were puzzled when we first came across this pendant light, a heavy-quality, solid brass version of the ASK Pan:
It seemed unlikely that it was produced by ASK, since they do not appear to have produced any other metal lights, nor do they mention a metal version in the marketing material for the Plexiglas Pans.
Then we noticed that the brass version had the distinctive cable grib that was used exclusively by Lyfa for its higher-quality ranges throughout the 1960s. And indeed, the brass Pan has much in common with Karlby's late 1960s Pan series for Lyfa – the Pan-Opticon, the Pandean and (pictured here) the Pantre:
It's possible, of course, that Karlby designed the aluminium Pan series first and the brass Pan afterwards, but the aluminium series' 1969 issue date and space-age styling point strongly to the brass version being his original working of the Pan concept.