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Louis Poulsen’s VL38: Learning from the functionalists

Simple, functional and no-nonsense, one of the Danish lighting company’s most iconic creations gets a sleek makeover in black aluminium.

Danish functionalism is big on practicality. The artistic style is simple, functional and void of any decorative element that doesn’t serve a purpose.

But that’s not to say that there’s no beauty in functionalist designs. In fact, the beauty in Danish functionalism is incredibly powerful, translating into a unique, understated appeal that transcends time and trends. Case in point: Louis Poulsen’s VL38 table lamp, which was designed by influential Danish architect Vilhelm Lauritzen in the late 1930s for the recording studios of his iconic Radiohuset building project in Copenhagen.

Every part of VL38 is designed to deliver a lighting experience that pleases the human senses. For instance, the sculptural hand-spun aluminium lampshade, which is painted white on the inside to ensure a softer, more comfortable glow, directs light downwards in a non-dazzling manner. It can also be angled higher or lower on an elegant brass stem to optimise light distribution.

Over the ensuing years until its comeback in 2016 in Louis Poulsen’s catalogues, VL38 remained highly popular and in demand at auctions and antique markets around the world.

“Vilhelm Lauritzen mastered the art of uniting materials and light. He carried out in-depth studies of daylight as early as the ’20s and was devoted to developing and improving his lamps, which blended in harmoniously with the buildings he designed,” points out Louis Poulsen’s Design Manager Rasmus Markholt. “Lauritzen’s lamps are typical examples of an approach to a modern and functional design idiom that also distinguished his architecture.”

Now, Louis Poulsen expands the VL38 range to include a sleeker version in black aluminium, which is set to add a touch of contrast to any space without compromising the quality of light. Available in table, wall and floor lamp variations, all VL38 models are fitted with energy efficient LED sources to accommodate contemporary advances in light technology.

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