Artek releases the Kori Collection with TAF Studio – and  it’s all about warmth and eggs

Unveiled at Stockholm Design Week, the Kori Table Light series is a collection of five pieces: a table lamp, a floor lamp and a pendant in three models. The collection is a collaboration with Stockholm-based Gabriella Lenke and Mattias Ståhlbom,  the design duo behind TAF Studio.

The Artek flagship store standing tall in the middle of Helsinki is not exactly bathing in light in the first days of February. While the clouds hang low, the store is illuminated with light that looks soft somehow. Soft and cosy. According to the designers behind the lamp, the Kori collection was designed with ambience in mind.

 “We aimed to create a product that would fit all possible spaces and purposes while shining atmospheric light.”

Gabriella Lenke, Mattias Ståhlbom, TAF Studio

TAF, a design and architecture studio founded by Gabriella Lenke and Mattias Ståhlbom, is known for creating products that focus on the everyday. The pair is often found preoccupied with the planning, modelling and laboratory phases of the design process, something which also shows in the Kori series. The materials and forms of the products are innovative without feeling ostentatious. From the colours to the styles, these lamps truly feel invigoratingly chic and simple. Not completely unlike the summer cottages of our childhood pasts.

The materials and forms of the products are innovative without feeling ostentatious.

The lamps, which are moulded in recycled aluminium, are available in matte white and a yellow finish that borders on warm orange. The shape of the shade around the bulb is basket-like, hence its Finnish name, which refers to a hamper. A form that allows light to be dispersed in a glare-free manner, something which was created through extensive experimenting with light and shade.

The light the lamps create is soft and warm.

“It is hard to talk about one’s own successes, but we are very proud of the way the lamp combines aspects of quality in terms of the light it gives all the way to the material of the package it comes in,” says Lenke. 

Ståhlbom concludes, “It took us a long time to produce this design, but now we have arrived at a level where we, as the designers behind the product, are aware of every single detail. Down to the last screw.”

“This to us is the promise behind quality – that things that we design and send into production will stand the test of time. The products are able to endure because we took the time to plan, test and redesign,” adds Lenke.

While the aspect of quality might have been important to both the design duo and the brand behind the product, the brief from Artek was clear on one particular aspect. The outcome of the collaboration needed to become a future icon, a piece that would not only stand the test of time but also be able to seamlessly slip into the existing collection. Something which shows particularly in the timeless nature of the colours chosen for the collection. 

The choice of yellow is very close to the colour of egg yolk.

“We were very inspired by the way light hits the matt white of an egg – the thinness of the shell and also the yellow of the yolk,” Lenke tells, “Kori now comes in matt white and a yellow that reminds us of yolk.”

“Most of the things we touch, we are able to recognise, and an egg is no different. We all know how it feels! We as designers are interested in working in an inclusive way with a sense of recognition. We hope to work with things that people are able to perceive as familiar.”

Ståhlbom laughs, “We like to ‘dig where we stand’ as we might say in Swedish.”

The white is the matt white of an egg shell.

Through its combination of modular design and a minimalist aesthetic, the Kori series is a wonderfully contemporary take on the modernist union of form and  function. Through these aspects, it is also able to tackle several issues associated with the production of new things in particular.

“Working with Artek, we acknowledge the value and premise that comes with heritage. There is a different stake in play where creating becomes a process of cherishing rather than simply creating things that are new,” Lenke explains. “In this sense, designing lighting becomes particularly hard as advances in lighting technology are not only extremely rapid but also terribly continuous. What we needed to consider was the fact that while the technology might change with time, the design of the lamps would not. This on top of the issue with the permanent nature of the lamp as a product. How often does one move lighting structures in a home, for example?”

This, according to the pair, also strictly relates with aspects of sustainability. Things must change, we must all change.

“It seems too drastic to think that people would stop consuming altogether? What then becomes the push by the time that we all live in? It seems inevitable that new things are being produced all the time. What becomes crucial to us, as designers, is that we carefully consider every aspect in the production process to ensure that we choose ways of working that are the most sustainable,” Lenke says.

Through its combination of modular design and a minimalist aesthetic, the Kori series is a wonderfully contemporary take on the modernist union of form and  function.

According to Ståhlbom, “Artek has been very involved in these questions with us throughout the process. Not only are we designers ready to take responsibility – but it is delightful to see that nowadays, even the client is committed to making a change.”

“This is crucial in terms of the future and within the current culture, that those at the top are paving the way and making headway in terms of sustainability. This makes the smaller ones follow,” claims Lenke.

Talking of big versus small, how has the collaboration been for a studio consisting of Lenke, Ståhlbom and a trainee – working with the design giant?

“For us it is perfect, we aim to find ourselves close to the whole process all the time. We are adamant to draw, test and decide in all aspects of the production process. We love working in a way that resembles handicrafts,” Ståhlbom claims.

“Working with Artek for the third time now has felt equally warm, fun and genuine. I am so happy for this collaboration!” 

Ståhlbom concludes, “It is all in the name.” Meaning the name behind the company founded in Helsinki in 1935 by four young idealists: Alvar and Aino Aalto, Maire Gullichsen, and Nils-Gustav Hahl. “Artek, art and technology! That is what TAF has always been about – before even realizing that there were more of us.”

Learn more about the Kori Collection here.