TIPS & IDEAS  /  February 2021

In the light by Ulla Koskinen

My eyes trace the contours of the Secto 4200 lamp light reflected on the table – the bright centre and surrounding halo of rays. The Image imprinted by the light and shadow reminds me of a flower or the sun – or perhaps it could be the centre stage for an arrangement of pretty dishes or a bouquet of flowers, or the focal point for a table setting.

Light paints the mood and gives form to objects and spaces. It accentuates that which is placed in the spotlight and diffuses that which remains in the shadows. When it comes to light and shadow, we should look to the world of theatre. The principles for using light on stage equally apply to setting the scene at home and in other spaces. It is partly intuitive – most of us tend to dim the lights for a festive dinner, illuminate the table and light candles, allowing the surrounding room to gently fall into obscurity.

A close-up of a Secto pendant lamp, showing the lower ring in front of a dark background.

Then there are moments when we need to stay alert, navigate smoothly between rooms, bring and take, even if a little tired. In those moments, tranquil, subdued lighting and shade will send the wrong message to the brain. Instead of activating, low light invites us to calm down. It is important to be able to add light and create differing lightscapes and moods in the same room. A combination of light sources does the trick: a lamp that floods the desk with optimal light for working, one that illuminates the entire space in a near concealed manner, another that imbues the space with a harmonious rhythm through its intricate features and narrower range of light. Light sources should be placed at different heights and in different directions, casting their spotlight upwards, downwards and sideways. Indirect, precise, targeted and dimmable lighting all have their place. Versatility adds interest to an interior, and various combinations of lighting will change the mood in an instant.

The Secto pendant lamp above a table with dishes.

Adjustable lighting can be used to revitalize or bring a sense of calm during the long, dark Northern wintertime. Light brings rhythm to the day. For many, the rise in remote working has turned the home also into a stage for working. Changing up the lighting is an easy way to transition into leisure time at the end of a working day. I tend to mark the transition by switching off the desk lamp and dimming the brightest lamps. When I need to relax or concentrate, I’ve noticed a preference for a narrower beam of light. It seems to help me focus and prevent the gaze from drifting to scenes that do not need to take centre stage.

As I rest my eyes and thoughts, I avert my gaze to the patterns of light and shadow on the wall and examine where they arise. The Secto 4200’s lampshade’s delicate wooden slats turn into intriguing figures as they filter light, at times allowing it to flow freely, other times obstructing its path. They are like branches that create shifting paintings on the wall on a bright sunny day. The form of a Secto Design lamp transforms depending on whether it is on and how much external light falls on it. A fascinating gradient of the Secto 4200 lamp appears at the point where the slats merge into a tight bundle. Beautiful.

Text by Ulla Koskinen
Photo by Sameli Rantanen