Gepo Floor Lamp
Materials: Orange/brown translucent acrylic lampshade resting on an opal acrylic diffuser. White painted metal base & chromed metal parts (iron). Bakelite sockets.
Height: 170 cm / 11.81”
Lampshade: ∅ 55 cm / 18.89”
Base: ø 30 cm / 18.89”
Electricity: 3 bulbs E14, 3 x 40 watt maximum, 110/220 volt.
Any type of light bulb can be used. Not a specific one preferred.
Period: 1960s, 1970s – Mid-Century Modern.
Designers: Yki Nummi, Gino Sarfatti…
Manufacturer: Gepo N.V. (Naamloze Vennootschap – Limited Company), Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Other versions: Also made with a chromed base.
Gepo N.V. was a family business founded in 1965 by the brothers Posthuma: Peter (sales director) , Jules (purchase and marketing), Archi and Rob (production). The name Gepo is derived from the Gebroeders (brothers) Posthuma.
The brothers started their business with +- 35 euro/dollar borrowed from their mother. In 1972 the company had a turnover of +- 1 million euro/dollar. It was always the intention of the company to produce affordable lamps for the middle class. The Posthuma brothers not only wanted to democratize the light business, but they also wanted to provide every lamp with a dimmer. At that time dimmers were made with a resistor; they were expensive and often broke down. The plan has never been successful. Gepo ended business somewhere in the early 1980’s.
Origin of this lamp
This type of lamp was produced by many companies in several variations and has similarities with a design by Gino Sarfatti for his own company Arteluce; the Moon pendant lamp, model 2130 from 1969, also used in several floor lamps (see below). It also has similarities with the Kuplat (Bubbles) lamp, designed by Yki Nummi and made by Sanka Oy for Stockmann Orno, Finland.
Arteluce produced lamps like this one, but they are not documented in a published book. However, sometimes you can find them with an Arteluce label.
Source: Gino Sarfatti. Selected Works 1938 – 1973. Written by Marco Romanelli and Sandra Severi. Published by Silvana Editoriale in 2012.
Martinelli Luce from Italy, Lyktan from Sweden, Gepo (floor lamp below) from The Netherlands. In the UK it was Lumitron who produced comparable lamps designed by Robert Welch. Harvey Guzzini produced a table lamp. Many other companies made variations of this pendant lamp and floor lamp.
Gino Sarfatti was born in Venice, Italy in 1912 and studied aero naval engineering at the University of Genoa. Mr. Sarfatti died at Gravedona, Como, Italy in 1984 (some sources say 1985). He founded his company Arteluce in 1935 and sold it to Flos in 1973.
Yki Nummi (1925-1984) designed a similar lamp in 1959. It was named Kuplat and was produced by Sanka Oy, today in production by Innolux.
Yki Nummi was born on October 31, 1925 in China as a child of a Finnish missionary. Later on, he studied mathematics and physics in Turku and Helsinki and afterwards he studied design at the School of Applied Arts in Helsinki from 1946 until 1950.
He worked as lighting designer for the Finnish Stockmann-Orno A.B. light factory from 1950 to 1975 and designed hundreds of light fixtures.
The best-known light fixtures are the Modern Art table lamp in 1955 and the Lokki (Sky Flyer or Flying Saucer) pendant lamp in 1960, currently manufactured by Keraplast and Innojok Oy (Innolux), both Finish companies. In Germany and The Netherlands these lamps are produced by Adelta.
Keraplast and Adelta also produces the Modern Art table lamp. Keraplast has named it the New York table lamp. The Modern Art table lamp was acquired by the MoMA museum in New York, for their collection as a modern European Design Product of 1958, and that’s how the lamp got it’s name.
Yki Nummi participated in a large number of exhibitions and fairs. His works were awarded gold medals at the Milan Triennials of 1954, 1957 and 1960. He received the Pro Finlandia medal in 1971. Nummi also designed spotlights for the world-exhibition in 1958 in Brussels, Belgium.
Yki Nummi summarized his vision by saying ”People don’t buy lamps, they buy light”.
Yki Nummi is deceased in Finland, only 58 years old on March 12, 1984.
Stockmann-Orno and Sanka Oy
The acrylic lamps of Stockmann-Orno were made by Sanka Oy, founded in 1950. The company focused on the design of acrylic plastic, which was a new material at this time. Sanka still exists but since the 1970s they produce showers.
Stockmann-Orno A.B. was a major lighting factory, founded in 1921 in Helsinki and moved to Kerava in 1937. Later the name changed in Thorn-Orno. The factory closed its business in 2001, but Thorn still exists. Today Thorn is part of the Zumtobel Group.