Caroline Carlsson is a young designer in Sweden finishing her studies at Kalmar. We discovered her Tjugofyra lamp at the Stockholm Furniture Fair. The design was intriguing in itself: the lamp is meant to hang above a dining table with its cord and switch resting on the surface. We knew there had to be a lot of inspiration behind this and Caroline very kindly took the time to explain.
Tjugofyra is a pendant light fixture that brings to mind the forest, or a tree with branches of different lengths and shapes. You refer to women's struggle being a reference - can you explain more about this relationship?
While working with the differences between now and then lots of things became clear to me. My main purpose with this project was to give the cord back the respect that I think we've lost somewhere along the way.
Today we try to hide the cords as much as we can, instead of making it beautiful and inviting it to be a decorative part of our homes, while in the past the cord was something people proudly showed.
In my search of more things that differentiate us from those who lived in the 18th century, I found growing cities, the way we communicate, changes in the family structure and women's role in design-related areas.
If you look at the lamp from above, the branches form a map over a block in one of Europe's fastest growing cities, Nuekölln, Berlin. The name "Tjugofyra" comes from when I lived in this district some years ago and my street address was number 24, which translates into "tjugofyra" in Swedish, and this place is marked on the branch/street.
This marking is a small diode that glows like a candle (this function is unfortunately not working on this prototype). This is also where you can see the references to women's struggle and our changed ways of communication.
The glowing light from the diode is a translation of a poem about the importance of friendship, written by Hedvig Charlotta Nordenflycht (1718-1763), seen as one of the first feminists in Sweden. It was important for me to enlighten the fact that female designers in the past almost exclusively worked with textiles in different ways while I, a young female designer of today, get the chance to show my very "non-textile" work at the biggest furniture fair in Sweden.
The diode tells us the poem by using Morse code, although a more glowing version of an otherwise rather annoying blinking, which I think is a reminder of how easy it is to communicate with each other today and the speed of news flow compared to how it was back in the days.
I chose to design a lamp for dining tables to try to encourage people, friends and families, to start dining together again, something I think we forget to do in the hectic world of today.
By letting the cord rest on the middle of the table, like the guest of honor, I hope that it once again can be something beautiful that we proudly decorate our homes with.
What is the orange object that hangs from the piece? It looks almost like an acorn. What is its meaning?
The orange thing that hangs down from the pendant light is the switch. It is placed there to encourage interesting conversations, just like the old "conversation pieces" used to in a natural way give people something to talk about, usually a sculpture or some other piece of art. I also think it's smart to be able to control the amount of light on the table at the actual table, without having to get up and interrupting the conversation.
It is shaped almost like an acorn or some sort of imaginary fruit simply because old crystal chandeliers usually have an acorn or a fir cone hanging underneath it, and I think my lamp in some ways reminds you of a modern chandelier.
What are your plans after Kalmar? What are the other designs that you are working on?
Right now I'm in the middle of my final project in which I'm trying to find a way to increase people's interest in high quality wooden floors. Knowing myself, I'm guessing it's going to end up with some sort of lighting!
After finishing my education I'm going to try to get my newly started company to work. After some years in school you get quite eager to get started for real and to try out all the ideas you haven't had time to try out before.
Right now I'm drawing a bookshelf for paperback books, inspired by the factory chimneys in old industrial estates, but I've also always dreamt about designing a big rug, a radiator and of course, many, many more lamps.