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Bauhaus Re-Issue: the Kaiser Idell Collection by the Republic of Fritz Hansen

What do the Bauhaus and the Republic of Fritz Hansen have in common? Probably more than one might guess, but the affinity begins with the manufacturer’s recent re-issue of a classic Bauhaus design by a lesser-known Bauhaus designer: the Kaiser Idell Collection of table lamps, wall lamps, floor lamps, and pendants by Christian Idell.

Kaiser Idell Table Lamp. Designed by Christian Idell. Manufactured by The Republic of Fritz Hansen.

The Kaiser Idell Collection is Classic Bauhaus in a Contemporary Context

Fritz Hansen is known for its longstanding collaboration with a roster of luminaries of modern design—Arne Jacobson, Hans Wegner, and Poul Kjaerholm among them—but the Kaiser Idell Collection predates even those Modern masters. As you may guess, the Idell brand refers to the “Idea of Dell,” and, between the years of 1926 and 1932, this designer, silversmith, and “principal of the Metallwerkstatt at the Frankfurter Kunstschule,” devised many an idea about the nature of new design.

Kaiser Idell Table Lamp. Designed by Christian Idell. Manufactured by The Republic of Fritz Hansen.

The Kaiser Idell Collection is perhaps Dell’s greatest contribution. Created in collaboration with the Gebr. Kaiser & Co. lighting manufacturer, the Kaiser Idell lamps “then, as well as today, are the symbol of noble Germanic design, exquisite choice of materials and precise engineering.”

Kaiser Idell Table Lamp. Designed by Christian Idell. Manufactured by The Republic of Fritz Hansen.

The steel and brass shades of these enduring lamps are hand painted in a high gloss. Color choices include black, ivory, white, ruby red, and dark green. Each of the different Kaiser Idell incarnations features a chrome-painted base and stem, either hand polished or in silver-soldered brass.

Based on Idell’s world-patented swivel joint, the Kaiser Idell collection foreshadowed the turn of things to come. The lamp was—and still is—extraordinarily functional, beautiful in its proud display of an industrial aesthetic, and compelling for its innovative curved elements, bold color palette, and intriguing juxtaposition of different metals.

About the Manufacturer: Approximately one hundred and twenty-five years ago, cabinet maker Fritz Hansen secured workshop space in the Copenhagen burb of Christianshavn. Some forty-five years later, son Christian began to experiment with steam bending beech. Fast forward to the new millennium and manufacturer Fritz Hansen has parlayed the under-pinnings of modern design into one of the most visible and renowned furniture brands worldwide. The roster of past Fritz Hansen designers includes such luminaries as Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobsen, and Verner Panton. Today, count on products designed by Kasper Salto, Morten Voss, and Jamie Hayón to bear the Fritz Hansen name.

Posted October 20th, 2011 by Joseph Starr


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