Vintage Info – All About Vintage Lighting

George Nelson Bubble lamps

George Nelson Bubbles

The company that specialized in these lights was Cocoon-Leuchten International ( Goldkant-Leuchten) from Germany.

The Raak lamp is made in the same period many other companies started using this kind of material in lighting; this lamp appears for the first time in a catalogue in 1962.

One of the most famous is the “Gatto” designed by Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni in 1960. Still for sale in design shops. More info on the Flos website. (external links open in a new window)

In the late 1950s Arturo Eisenkeil brought the technique to Italy and together with Dino Gavina, Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, Sergio Biliotti, Carlo and Tobia Scarpa, Ignazio Gardella, to name the most important designers, the Flos company was born.  The first cocoon lights were named: GattoTaraxacum and Viscontea by the Castiglioni brothers and Fantasma by Tobia Scarpa.

Raak Chrysaline Pendant Light

 

Materials: Metal frame and plastic “Cocoon”, Bakelite socket.

Cord Length: 65 cm  / 25.59”

Height: 45 cm / 17.71”

Width: 45 cm / 17.71”

Electricity: 1 bulb E27, 1 x 150 watt maximum, 110/220 volt.
Any type of light bulb can be used, preferably a white/opaque bulb.

Period: 1960s – Mid-Century Modern.

Designer: Presumably one of these designers (at that time working for the company in the late 50’s and 60’s): Nan Platvoet, Nanny-Still Mackinney, Nico Kooy, Frank Ligtelijn, Jan Jasper Fayer, Ger Vos, Tapio Wirkkala, Ru Melchers

Manufacturer: Raak Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Other versions: Also made in a smaller version of 35 cm / 13.77”, The B-1058 model.

A strange thing is that the B-1057 label also is used for another Raak pendant light, as you can see over here on Vintageinfo.

The first one who used this kind of material is George Nelson in 1947 for his Bubble Hanging Lights. The technique was been developed for mothballing naval ships. George Nelson referred to these lights as “one of those happy accidents which occur all too infrequently in the designer’s experience”.

Raak Amsterdam

The Dutch company “Raak Amsterdam” was founded in 1954 by Carel O.Lockhorn (18 June 1923 – 6 October 2004), a previous employee of Philips Lighting Eindhoven. Raak, which means “to hit” in Dutch, implies design which precisely “hits the nail on the head”.

Raak is best known for their organic modern design of the 1960s and 1970s which combined glass & metals for a sophisticated futuristic style.

The light company collaborated with several international designers and architects, including Bertrand BalasEvert Jelle JellesFrank LigtelijnGer VosJan Jasper FayerLi HeloMaija-Liisa KomulainenNan PlatvoetNanny Still-MackinneyNico KooiSergio AstiTapio WirkalaWillem van Oyen and many others.

Raak Amsterdam also collaborated with other companies. They worked with the German Peill & Putzler for the Raak Globe lamps. Peill & Putzler produced the glass.

They also sold lamps made by Peill & Putzler, such as a pendant light designed by Aloys Ferdinand Gangkofner. For the Raak Discus the glass was made by Bega, also a German company. For the Night Club and Stalactites lamps a cooperation with the Belgian Val Saint Lambert was undertaken in the late 1950s.

Carel Lockhorn sold the company in 1974 to ITT but remained a director until 1977. In 1980 Raak merged with BIS Lighting from Aalsmeer, also in The Netherlands and was renamed into BisRaak. In 1986 the Raak company became independent again. The company got a business appearance and only the colors white, black and gray were still processed.

In 1999, Raak merged with Artilite B.V. and Indoor B.V. and became CLACentrum voor Lichtarchitectuur B.V. in Drachten (Center for Light Architecture). The Center for Lighting Architecture was founded by Egbert Keen. The company was declared bankrupt on 19-05-2011.

Dutch text from the Raak catalogue in 1962:

Zwevende ballonnen …. chrysaline

Chrysaline, een modern soepel materiaal met een warm en levend karakter. Dooraderd met nietige nerven als het blad van plataan en populier. Gevoelig van structuur, maar ongevoelig voor vele invloeden van buitenaf:
onbreekbaar, afwasbaar, sterk en elastisch.
Chrysaline verliest echter wel zijn blanke pracht onder invloed van teveel tabaksrook!
Daarom zijn deze ballonnen (alleen of in trossen) bij uitstek geschikt voor gebruik in slaapkamers, kinderkamers, trapportalen en hoge vestibules.

B-1057 45 cm. voor lamp 150W  – 45 gulden
B-1058 35 cm. voor lamp 100W – 45 gulden

Translated text from the original catalogue:

Floating balloons …. chrysaline


Chrysaline, a modern flexible material with a warm and lively character. Veined with tiny veins like the leaf of the plane tree and the cottonwood. Delicate in texture, but resistant to many external influences:
unbreakable, washable, strong and elastic.
Chrysaline loses its white splendor under the influence of too much tobacco smoke!
Therefore, these balloons (alone or in bunches) are ideal for use in bedrooms, children’s rooms, staircases and high vestibules.

B-1057 45 cm. Lamp for 150W 45 guilders
B-1058 35 cm. Lamp for 100W 45 guilders

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Raak Chrysaline B-1057 Pendant Light - Catalogue 5 - 1962

Picture taken from L’ Art Ménager, edition 1963 – Paul Breton – published by Flammarion, Paris, France. Website: Editions Flammarion – This exellent book is off course no longer available but with a little luck you can find it for a nice price on the electronic highway.

Raak Chrysaline Pendant Light - L' Art Menager 1963 - Editions Flammarion - Paul Breton