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30 August 2012
Louise Campbell Boldly Goes…
The Danish/English designer follows this ground rule: everything is possible until the opposite is proven.
LC Shutters is a pendent lamp featuring distinctive cut-out motifs. When lit, the atmospheric light it gives off is akin to the glow one sees when shutters are fully or partially closed.
Echoing Campbell’s previous works, the lamp is at once playful and experimental, and a compelling combination of Scandinavian rationalism and femininity. There are only three basic components in its manufacture – turning the shade, stamping the pattern and painting. But while the process appears deceptively simple, the challenge lies in creating a layered effect on the curved shade surface – a problem solved using a new tool of millimeter precision that has been designed specifically for this purpose.
Here Campbell tells us more.
Can you explain the working title of the LC Shutters, ‘No Shit’, and how it changed to ‘Oh Shit’ and back again?
I was asked to design a simple, very reasonably priced lamp, which could be manufactured at Louis Poulsen’s own factory in Denmark without too many challenges in the process. Therefore the title ‘No Shit’. However, I couldn’t NOT challenge the factory, so for a while everyone panicked [hence ‘Oh Shit’]. But Louis Poulsen lived up to the challenge, and has developed an incredibly impressive manufacturing system for this new lamp, which means that the making is indeed economical, surprisingly simple and still interesting. Back to ‘No Shit’.
How is LC Shutters different or similar to the other projects you’ve worked on with Louis Poulsen?
Previously I had worked with transparent or translucent materials for Louis Poulsen. Shutters is made from a single sheet of aluminium, which is a solid, heavy, anything but translucent material. Yet, when you look at Shutters, it glows, and has strong familiar traits with my other Louis Poulsen works, as the light is permitted to dance all over the shade.
What unique challenges did this project pose?
This one was particularly stressful at the moment of concept to development, as I firmly believed the intense manipulation of the material would work and do as I imagined, but we didn’t know for sure until the company had invested heavily in machinery and proven the idea to be effective. This shows unusually great faith!
How long have you been collaborating with Louis Poulsen and can you describe the relationship you have with the company and its people?
For 12 years, and the place feels like family to me. Truly.
I love the very professional, direct and intense dialogue. This collaboration is unusually close. The Louis Poulsen development team is one of the finest in the world. Everybody loves what they do, and they all do it brilliantly. And because we all know each other so well, we can be very effective together. There is no treading on eggshells. No performance. Just pure, dedicated collaboration where we all know where we stand in relation to each other and the project at hand.
What are the underlying fundamentals that one will see across all your work?
I am always searching for some sort of new solution, trying to push a product and its material to a place that surprises and challenges me.
This is very important. It justifies making new products in a world that is already full of products, and keeps me interested in the job.
How would you describe the state of Danish design today? Would you consider your designs to be truly representative of the Danish design ethos?
The beauty of working in Denmark is that we don’t rush things here. Whilst the rest of the world is increasingly trend focussed and always, always looking for the latest news, we simply work until satisfied, always striving for longevity in what we make. In this way my work is very representative of the Danish Way. Being thorough.