BACK IN THE SPOT­LIGHT

We talk to Gubi’s creative director Ja­cob Gubi about bring­ing Fin­nish light­ing vi­sion­ary Paavo Tynell’s de­signs into the 21st cen­tury with the brand’s new col­lec­tion

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Un­til now only avail­able at auc­tion, the work of Paavo Tynell (1890–1973) has been put back into pro­duc­tion by Gubi. Dubbed ‘the man who il­lu­mi­nated Fin­land’, Tynell was known for his del­i­cate, na­ture-in­spired shapes, and was a spe­cial­ist in metal fin­ishes, which is re­flected in Gubi’s col­lec­tion.

How did the part­ner­ship come about? In 2010, I wrote to Tynell’s 92-year-old widow He­lena, and was in­vited by the cou­ple’s chil­dren to visit Tynell’s ar­chive at the Design Mu­seum in Helsinki. We spent a long time dis­cussing if and how we could bring back their fa­ther’s work, and an equally long time sourc­ing and pro­duc­ing the lamps ex­actly as Tynell made them orig­i­nally, which was very im­por­tant to his fam­ily.

Can you tell us a lit­tle more about Paavo Tynell? Tynell started his ca­reer at around the same time as Al­var Aalto, and both of them were lead­ing de­sign­ers in Fin­land, but their design lan­guage was very dif­fer­ent – where Aalto em­braced ar­chi­tec­ture as well as fur­ni­ture design, Tynell fo­cused on light­ing, com­bin­ing Mod­ernism and Nat­u­ral­ism with po­etry and ele­gance, which was very unique for that time.

How is his work rel­e­vant to 2018? Even just in the few years I have been work­ing with his fam­ily, col­lec­tors and gal­leries have been pay­ing more and more at­ten­tion to his pieces. Within the last year, his work has seen a phe­nom­e­nal growth at in­ter­na­tional auc­tion houses – his ‘Snow­ball’ sus­pen­sion lamp sold for $250,000 (£185,000) at Artcu­rial in Paris in April, which was a world record for Scan­di­na­vian light­ing.

How did you choose which pieces to pro­duce? We had ses­sions with his fam­ily, look­ing at their per­sonal favourites, and took this into ac­count along with the tech­nol­ogy that was avail­able to pro­duce them. We wanted pieces that would be time­less, as well as in line with our ex­ist­ing col­lec­tions.

Will the de­signs bring a new type of style to Gubi? We love nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als, and I think adding these new tex­tures to our col­lec­tion will make the brand more in­ter­est­ing and in­spi­ra­tional. We had never used rat­tan be­fore, but it’s such a warm ma­te­rial and works very well with our usual fin­ishes, such as brass – it cre­ates a re­ally nice har­mony.

Do you have a per­sonal favourite in the col­lec­tion? Tynell’s iconic ‘Snowflake’ chan­de­lier is at the top of my wish list, but un­for­tu­nately, it isn’t part of our first Tynell col­lec­tion. A few of the rat­tan and li­nen ‘9602’ floor lamps will def­i­nitely end up in my liv­ing room, though ( gubi.com).

Clock­wise from left ‘1965’ pen­dant light, £4,895; ‘5321’ ta­ble lamp, £429; ‘9494’ wall lamp, £309; ‘9602’ floor lamp, £299, all Gubi

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