From abstract to functional: New design by Kasper Kjeldgaard for Fritz Hansen
If you visited Fritz Hansen’s pavilion within the renovated Designmuseum Danmark during the recent 3daysofdesign festival, you may have missed their latest – and possibly most understated product release to date. But that is exactly the point of Oneline, designed by Danish designer and artist Kasper Kjeldgaard. During the day its simple structure hides in plain sight the technical ability of this ultra-slim hanging lamp – coming alive at night to provide an amazing quality of illumination. As with all seemingly simple objects, we chatted with Kasper to gain some insight into the often arduous task of bringing to market something so visually restrained, yet technologically advanced.
Better known for his collectible design pieces that explore notions of friction, balance and sculptural composition, the first mass-manufactured design piece by Kasper Kjeldgaard – at first glance, seems like a world away from his everyday hands-on approach to craft. The building blocks of Oneline began however, within a larger light installation for the creative space Alma in Stockholm. Within this larger constellation, a single milled opening within a metal tube provided a conceptual spark, a small yet direct light source that outshone the installations other components. Once back in Denmark, this detail got Kasper thinking about the larger relevance of such a thin and direct light source, as he explains:
“My first thought was that we already have this style of lamp, but in larger, thicker metal profiles. I began to think about why someone has not re-designed this style of lamp with the use of current LED technology to be much thinner and slight. For me it was more a situation where I thought it was such an obvious thing to do.”
Having an existing relationship with Fritz Hansen through their collaboration as part of the Wallpaper* Handmade exhibition in Milan, Kasper took what he thought was an extremely resolved prototype to the design team of the heritage Danish company. While this initial prototype bares a visual resemblance to Fritz Hansen’s release, it is the technical aspects of Oneline that took three years to fully resolve. The lighting output of Oneline is world class, and a long way from Kasper’s first attempt – to the point that even five years ago a light this functional and at this small scale would not have been achievable. The weaved stainless steel hanging wires also became an incredible design challenge, resulting in a fully customised product that has the ability to create tension within the finished lamp, as well as providing conductivity and a soft to touch texture. While the level of detail within these components was new for Kasper, the explorative nature of detailing the lamp allowed him to connect back to his more conceptual body of work.
“I enjoy developing joints within my work, and within Oneline this simple end joint had to have a lot of functionality designed into it. In this case it needed to conduct the power, become a lock and hanging mechanism all at once. It takes a lot of work to design such a visually simple element. This is present within my more abstract, sculptural work, as well as within this functional context.”
These functional components allow Oneline to fit into diverse interior environments as well as being suited to a range of functions. The end joint component mentioned above allows Oneline to rotate – making it a beautiful gallery style light when used close to an artwork, but also allows the user to connect lighting elements together to create a continuous, slim-line beam of light for larger spaces. Perfect for a dining table or kitchen counter, and with the quality of light to become a reliable work or study lamp, Oneline’s simplicity in form allows a flexibility in use.
While the technical achievements of Oneline adds to Fritz Hansen’s catalogue of refined, timeless design pieces, it also represents a truly contemporary product that could have only been produced in 2022. Through a rigorous design and production process, the technical accomplishments of Oneline at the scale presented gave Kasper a great sense of achievement. Yet, as he details, the lamp’s ability to combine the look at feel of both his own work and that of Fritz Hansen’s is what makes Oneline truly unique.
“If I had to point to one overall thing about Oneline that I thought has succeeded above expectation, it is that it not only fits really well with Fritz Hansen’s own DNA, but it also clearly fits back into my own design language and practice in general. It finds itself expressed in the design and the material choices, but also on a more general level – where concepts such as balance, weight, and simplicity have always played a major role. They are clearly present within Oneline.”