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
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