Danish lighting manufacturer Louis Poulsen produces lamps designed by the likes of Danish designer Louise Campbell, the late, great Poul Henningsen and renowned architect and designer Arne Jacobsen. In addition, a number of foreign designers are also associated with the Danish lighting brand. Here, we take you behind the scenes at the company’s main plant in Vejen, Denmark.
Every year, the 200 employees involved in production at this site produce 220 000 lamps. Around 50% of the units are intended for the private market, while the other half is used in the projects market. The foundation of Louis Poulsen’s approach to lighting is to be found in their strict and uncompromising product philosophy, where the common denominator is simplicity. This makes the company’s products excel by having a unique ability to adapt to all kinds of architecture, and their ability to cross different cultural styles with ease.
The most laborious product to produce is the Artichoke lamp designed by Poul Henningsen, partly due to the great deal of preparatory work needed in different parts of the production. The Artichoke lamp comprises a whole series of different plates, so called leaves, which are then attached to a frame. Before the lamp can be assembled, the leaves must be bent, burnished and lacquered.
“The Artichoke lamp comes in different sizes, and the smallest one is actually the hardest to assemble due to there being very little space between the leaves and the frame. The actual attachment of the leaves takes about two hours per lamp. Therefore, we concentrate a lot on minimising the production time, and the plant is constantly working on new logistic models to shorten the time spent e.g. on transportation between the component store and the assembly line”, says Claus Østergaard, International Marketing Director at Louis Poulsen.
The amount of production processes a product is put through varies and depends on the product’s complexity. Outdoor products continuously goes through light emitting tests, salt fog tests and heat measuring. In this way, the procurement is not only about assembly of the lamps, but is also about the ongoing documentation processes concerning the different products.
“The hardest thing about producing a Louis Poulsen lamp is the process of making the light right. Today, LED is an integral part of our products, and there is plenty of technological considerations to make. We must always respect our lighting philosophy with regard to our description of function, comfort and atmosphere, while at the same time, we also have to make sure that our products do not consume too much energy”, says Claus Østergaard.
He also mentions that a product itself can be a challenge. The designer may have some ideas that Louis Poulsen cannot comply with, but usually the company creates and designs new tools for the production of new products.
“A lot of things have to come together before a product can be launched”, ends Claus Østergaard.