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The star-shaped lacquered steel pendant light pictured below seems to embody the space-age style of the late 60s and early 70s, but in fact it was designed for Nordisk Solar Compagni at the beginning of the 1960s by Danish architects Niels Esmann & Hans C Jensen.
A news item in the October 1961 issue of Danish homestyle magazine Bo Bedre (illustrated with the picture below) tells us that the lamp’s 11 intersecting metal layers and the internal bracket holding them together were soon to become available as individual items, allowing the purchaser to build a lamp to their own height requirements – though we have seen no evidence that this feature was ever actually introduced.
The metal layers were available in white, grey, purple or orange, and at the time of the lamp’s introduction all had white interior surfaces, though this was subsequently changed to full colour throughout as seen in our own images (top, below and bottom).
The lamp is easily confused with another of very similar construction that was in production in Holland at around the same time. Attributed to JJM Hoogervorst for Anvia Almelo, the Dutch lamp can be distinguished from the Nordisk Solar version by the existence of a narrow metal rod attaching the bulbholder to the topmost metal layer. In the Nordisk Solar Compagni version this function is performed by a much wider metal bar as seen below, and the entire electric fitting slips freely in and out of the bar in the usual Nordisk Solar style.
Furthermore, the Anvia versions usually have only nine layers, and sometimes seven, instead of the Nordisk’s 11 – though the possibility of other Nordisk combinations cannot be dismissed. But the most distinctive difference between the two is that while the Nordisk lamp’s layers are of equal depth throughout, the Anvia layers are alternately thinner and wider – and the two widths are usually also different in colour.