by Markus Hieke | 2/14/2019
At this year’s Stockholm Design Week, Wästberg presented an update of David Chipperfield’s luminaire “w102,” which now has an extended family.
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The lighting company Wästberg emerged from a young Swedish man’s precocious insight. He had identified a systemic failure prevailing in most of the offices and public places of the world — a problem so monumental that no one neither bothered, nor wanted to, confront it.
In a printed manifesto entitled Lamps for Neanderthal Man (2008), he outlined a development gone awry a very long time ago. In brief, man had, in a misguided pursuit of efficiency and standardisation, been deprived of private spheres, with light as sole protection and trust.
Wästberg wanted to bring back light to human proximity. Open the eyes of those who close them, without blinding them. Rekindle the appreciation of sublime shadows and contrasts. Economise on energy and materials, particularly important in a world that has exceeded its moral authority.
With a scaled-down general lighting in the ceiling, and sophisticated direct light from desk lamps, wall lamps, floor lamps and pendant lamps, Wästberg wanted to build a new … whole. Cold and sterile environments with constant static brightness could be turned into atmospheric environments through beautiful and functional lighting that lend well-being. The sophisticated direct lighting remained to be created.
After ten years of activity, Wästberg has now left its own private sphere — to be considered as an established player in, and for, the public eye. This has not hindered the development of lamps for people’s homes.
For the rest, little has changed since the start. What remains is the deep respect for the most basic human need — expressed through the combination of aesthetics, cutting-edge technology and resource conservation. What also remains is the close collaboration with some of the world’s most renowned architects, designers and lighting experts.