Raak Serpent Desk Lamp
Materials: Aluminium round base, cast iron counterweight inside the base. Iron goose-neck, black plastic hose. Eyeball/globe aluminium lampshade. Porcelain socket.
Height: 60 cm / 14.17” – adjustable
Base: ∅ 25 cm / 16.92”
Electricity: 1 bulb E27, 1 x 75 watt maximum, 110/220 volt.
Any type of light bulb can be used, but preferably a small round white or clear bulb.
Period: 1960s – Mid-Century Modern.
Designer: Martine Le Forestier.
Manufacturer: Raak Amsterdam, Holland.
Other versions: Other examples are shown in the pictures below taken from the old Raak catalogues from 1968 and 1972: wall lamps, clamp lamps, floor lamps, table lamps, desk lamps.
This lamp is model D-2124. It only appears in an in-between catalogue from 1973, the Raak Studio Collection Catalogue. It was a small catalogue, intended only for the retailer (picture on the left).
In the Raak Catalogue 9 from 1972 the Serpent lights were named Cobra lamps.
Martine Le Forestier
Martine Le Forestier is a French designer born September 3th 1945.
She studied at the ENS AMAA (Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Appliqués et des Métiers d’Art – National School of Applied Arts and Crafts) in Paris and won the “Prix Vienot” prize in 1969 with her design of this lamp.
She also designed an inphrafil lamp (infra red lamp) for Philips and worked for the famous French industrial designer Roger Tallon who designed the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse), the French high-speed electric passenger train and a collection of watches for the French company LIP. Roger Tallon also designed furniture, household tools and of course beautiful lamps, you can find them here on Vintageinfo.
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 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 Stalactites flush mounts 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). The Centre for Lighting Architecture was founded by Egbert Keen. The company was declared bankrupt on 19-05-2011.
Text from the catalogue in Dutch
“Paradijselijk ontwerp: slang en appel, kan het listiger?
De slang kronkelt zich naar alle standen, naar de hand van haar
“bezweerder”. Volgt uw stemmingen en gedachtenkronkels.”
Blank aluminium reflector met zilvergrijze slang. Maximum
vlucht 100 cm. Normale gloeilamp tot 100 watt. Wenst men
bijzonder sterke lichtaccenten dan bestelle men
extra spiegeloptiek R-41.”
Translated text from the Raak catalogue
“Heavenly Design: snake and apple, can it be more cunning?
The snake winds itself in all positions, to the hand of her
“enchanter“. Follow your moods and twisted thoughts. “
White aluminum reflector with silver grey snake. Maximum
Flight 100 cm. Normal light bulb up to 100 watts. If one wants
particularly strong lighting accents than one order
additional mirror optics R-41. “