Timeless Beauty

by Luo Jingmei
Photos courtesy of Louis Poulsen and XTRA
15 Sep 2023

In light of the launch of Louis Poulsen’s new Pale Rose collection, Christian Seiffert, the brand’s Managing Director (Asia), expounds on the longevity of its iconic products.

For two days in August, Gather was transformed into a showcase for Louis Poulsen’s Pale Rose collection. Iconic lamps from the 149-year-old Danish lighting manufacturer such as the PH Artichoke pendant and PH 2/1 brass table lamp rendered in a light pink shade brought a romantic, old-school atmosphere to the café in Raffles Hotel.

Louis Poulsen's Pale Rose collection remagined in a combination of mouth-blown pale rose glass and brushed brass on display at the Gather cafe, surrounded by a set up in pink and teal.

The collection pays homage to designer Poul Henningsen’s ingenuity. “Pale rose is a color that combines the beauty of classic designs and materials with modern interior trends. In fact, the story of pale rose goes back to 1958 when Henningsen designed his signature piece – the PH Artichoke – for a modernist restaurant in Copenhagen called Langelinie Pavilion. The 72 leaves were made of copper, but instead of painting the inside white for the reflection of light, he applied a hue of pale rose,” explains Christian Seiffert. 

The Managing Director (Asia) of Louis Poulsen was also at the event, decked in a pastel pink shirt to match the theme. Seiffert is a frequent patron of the café and decided letting visitors experience the lamps as they are used in a real setting was a good way of showcasing their beauty and functionality.

The PH 3/3 Pale Rose brass pendant and PH 3/2 Pale Rose table lamp at the pop-up at Gather.

The indirect light from the lamps created a soft, welcoming ambience in the café. “For example, the PH Artichoke’s petals shield the light source to make the lamp glare free; Henningsen directed the light with mathematical precision for optimal function while providing a pleasant ambience at the same time. And all of this with reduced and timeless design,” Seiffert explains on Henningsen designing with the user’s comfort in mind.   

Designed in 1971 by Verner Panton, the soft diffused light from the Panthella lamp mirrors its organic form.

Having worked at Louis Poulsen for the past six years, he is a strong advocator of its quality products and history of innovation. “To shield and direct light sources with materials such as glass and metal, and with a combination of several shades, was revolutionary. The first design by Henninsen was the so-called Paris lamp in 1925, presented at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris. After that, Louis Poulsen and Henningsen were awarded a contract for the Forum Building in Copenhagen. This was the starting point for the series of PH lamps that Louis Poulsen manufactured from 1926,” he shares on the company’s beginnings.  

To fully appreciate the legacy of the brand, he recommends a trip to Copenhagen. “Copenhagen is one giant showcase of Louis Poulsen. Our lamps are used everywhere – from government buildings to offices, hotels, restaurants, outdoor spaces and of course, in private homes. The SAS (now Radisson Collection Royal Hotel) is recognized worldwide as one of Danish designer Arne Jacobsen’s principal works of architecture where our AJ Lamp and Royal Lamp were part of the interior design of the hotel in 1960.”

(Related: Louis Poulsen reintroduces the original Panthella lamp)

The AJ lamps created by Arne Jacobsen produce a diffused light that is targeted and non-glaring.

The bestselling Louis Poulsen product worldwide is the PH 5. “It is the top seller in Singapore too. We have many young new homeowners that start their Louis Poulsen journey with PH 5 for their dining table or kitchen counter. Other Henningsen designs, as well as Verner Panton’s Panthella, are also popular,” he shares.

Seiffert himself is a proud owner of several Louis Poulsen lamps in his home, including several by Henninsen. He uses NJP Lamps by Japanese designer Nendo as reading lamps and a Panthella floor lamp to light the lounge. “My personal favorite is the PH 5-4½, also called PH Charlottenburg. It has an additional trumpet-shaped top shade to the original three-shade system. It gives great illumination for larger spaces and high ceilings,” he lets on.

Christian Seiffert, Managing Director (Asia) of Louis Poulsen

Seiffert was born in Germany, but has lived in Singapore for the past 14 years. “From a young age, I planned to see cities, explore the world and therefore chose international business as studies,” says the wanderluster, who left home at the age of 22 and has worked in UK, Spain, and Munich. On how he came to Singapore, a lighting company that sponsored his International Studies at university had offered him a post here a few years after graduation. “I built up their sales hub for the APAC region, working with architects and interior designers for commercial projects.”

While Seiffert notes the expensive living standards of the city-state, he is also impressed by its high home ownership rate. “It is close to 90 per cent due to very smart government schemes. Another 100,000 private and public homes will be built and completed before the end of 2025. This is obviously very interesting for the interior design scene. We see the residential design sector further growing with increasing awareness not only for quality and design, but also for sustainability, which is nice to see.” 

This is good news for the brand, as more homeowners who appreciate such values seek products and brands that embody them. Unlike many brands that churn out product after product, Louis Poulsen’s takes its time to produce pieces that stand the test of time. “Creating a beautiful and timeless piece is not easy,” Seiffert comments. “The superiority lies in the design process, combining function, comfort, and ambience.”

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