Raak Chrysaline Pendant Lamp
Materials: Big globe made of metal (iron) wire and plastic “Cocoon” sprayed around it. 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: 1950s, 1960s – Mid-Century Modern.
Designer: To be appraised.
Manufacturer: Raak, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Other versions: This Raak Chrysaline pendant lamp exists in a smaller version of 35 cm / 13.77”. It is model B-1058. Also a floor lamp was made: model D-2004. It appears in catalogue 3 from 1960. Catalogue picture on this page.
It is strange that the B-1057 label was also used for another Raak pendant lamp, as you can see over here.
Many people think these lamps are made of pig’s bladder. It is not, of course. It is a type of plastic.
In all probability Goldkant-Leuchten, Friedel Wauer GmbH & Co KG from Germany produced this lamp for Raak. Friedel Wauer who is credited by Flos for devising the technology of spraying the material onto iron frames, was inspired by the “self-wrapping” of a silkworm, hence the naming “cocoon”.
George Nelson was the first one who used this kind of material 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”.
The Dutch company Raak 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 Balas, Evert Jelle Jelles, Frank Ligtelijn, Ger Vos, Jan Jasper Fayer, Li Helo, Maija-Liisa Komulainen, Nan Platvoet, Nanny Still-Mackinney, Nico Kooi, Sergio Asti, Tapio Wirkala, Willem van Oyen and many others.
Raak 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 lamp 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. Raak also sold some lamps that were produced by Staff Leuchten (Staff & Schwarz Leuchtenwerke GMBH) from Germany, and several other companies.
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 colours white, black and grey were still processed.
In 1999, Raak merged with Artilite B.V. and Indoor B.V. and became CLA: Centrum voor Lichtarchitectuur B.V. in Drachten (Centre for Light Architecture). Lichtarchitectuur (light architecture) was the Raak tagline from the beginning in the 1950s. The Centre for Lighting Architecture was founded by Egbert Keen. The company was declared bankrupt on 19-05-2011.
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
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
Raak D-2004 Floor Lamp
FLOS Gatto Table lamps
Lamps in the movies!
A cocoon floor lamp appears in the 2018 Canadian-French thriller film Dans La Brume (Just a Breath Away) made in Paris, France. Starring Romain Duris and Olga Kurylenko.
Picture taken from L’ Art Ménager, edition 1963 – Paul Breton – published by Flammarion, Paris, France. Website: Editions Flammarion – This exellent book is of course no longer available but with a little luck you can find it for a nice price on the electronic highway.