How Paavo Tynell’s Elegant 1940s Pendant Lit the Way for Scandinavian Design Overseas

A swooping shade—rather like a “pixie’s cap,” as The New York Times pointed out back then—was hewn from brass, with patterned perforations that allowed light to trickle through. The interior was coated in white enamel and outfitted with a diffusing panel of glass. Tynell later added a counterweight to meet US regulations, which forbade hanging ceiling lights from power cords.

“The metal is handled in such a fashion as to make it seem strangely refined, in some cases almost delicate,” the Times wrote. There are no stats on the model’s success, but Tynell’s family said it was the most copied piece in the States at the time. “I think that speaks volumes to its popularity,” says Marie Kristine Schmidt, the chief brand officer of Gubi, which started producing the still-popular lamp—and offering it in a range of colors—in 2018 (from $699).

The fixture illuminates Justina Blakeneys L.A. dressing room.

The fixture illuminates Justina Blakeney’s L.A. dressing room.

Photo: Jenna Peffley.

Design people have long sought out the originals—Rodman Primack placed a pair, which he calls “gentle and nondenominational,” in a Kentucky home. But the repros have their own appeal: When tastemaker Justina Blakeney spotted the green version, she had to have it for her “jungalicious” LA dressing room. “It’s the perfect accent piece,” she explains. “And let’s be real—who doesn’t love curves?”

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