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Another twist in the Jørn Utzon Søvaernspendel debate

The identity of the designer of the Søvaernspendel, the light produced first by Nordisk Solar Compagni and later by Louis Poulsen, has been the subject of an ongoing debate on this blog over the past couple of years. Our previous posts and the valuable insights contributed by our readers on the issue can be read here, here and here.

To summarise the key points of the debate so far:
• Three versions of the light were produced, as pictured below. The first, pictured to the left, is the larger Nordisk Solar Compagni version; the second, pictured centre, is a more compact Nordisk Solar Compagni production; and the third, pictured right, is the Louis Poulsen version, a later production and the one most often seen today.*

• The July 1956 issue of Mobilia magazine carries a picture of the smaller Søvaernspendel, attributing its design to Jørn Utzon. But the following month’s issue includes an erratum retracting that attribution.
• Alternative suggestions as to the identity of the lamp’s designer have included Jørn Utzon’s naval architect father Aage, an anonymous member of the navy’s technical office, and architect Henning Klok.

But a new contribution from one of our readers brings us back full circle to considering Jørn Utzon. Amongst the exhibits currently on display at the Utzon Centre in Aalborg, Denmark, Hans Jakobsen discovered two drawings for the Søvaernspendel’s design, one of them dated 3 March 1952 and labelled Søvaernspendlen, and the other including the Søværnets Bygningsdistrikt (Navy Buildings Department) logo. Hans took pictures of the drawings on his cameraphone and has kindly given us permission to reproduce them here.


* UPDATE 8 October 2012: a reader from Denmark, Kurt Christensen, tells us that the Louis Poulsen version of the Søvaernspendel (discontinued circa the 1980s) is now back in production under a new name – the Doo-Wop!

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3 Responses to “Another twist in the Jørn Utzon Søvaernspendel debate”

  • Friis-Rødel:

    Why not ask Søværnet (The Danish Navy)? In spite of the last few decades perhaps less flattering history of The Danish Navy they must still have archives over work/designs done by the Building Department.

  • carlo:

    I seem to have come across a (slightly different) fourth version of this pendant. Or have I? The upper lip look wider and the “skirt” seems to cover more of the inner one. Pictures below for your referemnce

    http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f115/twenty21/silver1_zps4273ebe5.jpg

    http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f115/twenty21/silver2_zps600c3c74.jpg

    http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f115/twenty21/silver3_zps200d9b80.jpg

  • Mads Kjædegaard:

    After having read the story at http://www.vintage-danish-lights.com/jrn-utzon-and-the-svrnspendel (I am Danish BTW) I dont see why there is a confusion – the lamp that is NOT Utzon in Mobilia is clearly identifiable as the Søvernspendel in the errata. And there are some issues that bother me about the Utzon-relation to the Søværnspendelin the drawings from the Utzon Center:
    – as far as I can see none of the drawings have any writing / logo that link them to Utzon. Why they are in the Utzon center I have no idea, but had Utzons studio been asked to design the lamps for the Navy (“Søværnet” in danish – hence the name) the drawings should have had some text / logo to show that it came from his studio. The second drawing has the logo of Søværnet which indicates that the lamps were designed in house – but Utzon was never an imployee at Søværnet… My last point is this: IF the lamp had been designed by Utzon – why has Louis Poulsen not used his name in the re-issue of the lamp? Clearly Utzons name would help sales more than the name Doo-Wop? The mystery to me is how the drawings ended up in the Utzon Center – not weather Utzon designed or not, I think that “mystery” was already solved in the errata.

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