Manufacturers Kalmar Werkstätten - The Future Perfect


Grounded in Austria’s rich heritage of flawlessly executed design, Kalmar Werkstatten is that rare name that epitomizes both heritage and innovation. Having advanced modern lighting – both decoratively and functionally – for more than 130 years, the company is a standard bearer in harmonizing traditional technique with contemporary design and exemplary materials.

Julius Augustus Werkstatten opened his company in 1881, creating exquisitely rendered works that perfected the use of handcrafted cast bronze. His singular pieces first attracted the attention of the nascent ‘design’ world when they were on display at Gewerbe Ausstellung Wien in 1888 and the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. The company presciently formed collaborations with the prominent architects and designers of the day, producing chandeliers and other works that were lauded internationally.

The storied company was relaunched in 2009 under the perspicacious creative direction of Jonathan Browning and his co-directors Garth Roberts and Nicolo Taliani. Studying the company’s rich archives whilst tweaking some for 21st century application, the team re-released a number of key designs under the brand Kalmar Werkstatten. These included the iconic Werkbund-era lamps, initially designed by a coterie of Austrian designers and artists such as Josef Hoffman, known for their unyielding craftsmanship and aesthetics.

Today, Garth Roberts – known for moving across the worlds of design and fine art – oversees the brand, pursuing designs that draw on the fertile Kalmar lighting legacy whilst pushing boundaries of contemporary aesthetics. Remaining true to the company’s rigorous Austrian brand values, the company’s prototypical designs including floor lamps, freestanding Lumieres and pendants, evoking both the Secession and Wiener Werkstätten movements and its influential proponents
including Josef Hoffmann and Adolf Loos.

In the tradition of this noble Austrian heritage, the company is known for using elite woods such as rosewood, wedge, oak and walnut and pairing them with classic finishes including blackened bronze, polished nickel or matt black lacquer. This fusion of heritage, craft and contemporary vision has re-established Kalmar as one of the world’s most influential design companies, relied upon globally for its impeccably modern taste. This unique designs can be seen in a Kalmar chandelier.