“RA” Rare table lamp

Piet Hein 1905-1996


Rare table lamp with chromed metal frame, circular base with switch button. Shades of opal glass. Model 5908. This example manufactured 1939–40 by Kjøbenhavns Lampe- og Lysekronefabrik (KLLF, later Lyfa)

The first sketch of the RA lamp saw the light of day in 1931 and was amongst the – at the time, 25 year old Piet Hein’s very first designs. The lamp was manufactured in glass from 1939 and a few years henceforth and again in 1969. This time made of metal and it got a revival decorated according to the vivid colours of the time.

Kjøbenhavns Lampe- og Lysekronefabrik received a gold medal for the RA lamp at the world exhibition in Bruxelles in 1935.

Helge Wamberg “Verdensudstillingen i Bruxelles, 1935”, p. 163
“Fysisk Tidsskrift”, 1932, p. 92
AHE catalogue no. 386, 1939.

Year 1939
Artist Piet Hein 1905-1996
Price DKK 38.000 / EURO 5.200
Materials Chromed metal and glass
Height 47 cm

The story behind


Piet Hein (1905–1996) was a Danish polymath (mathematician, inventor, designer, author and poet), often writing under the Old Norse pseudonym Kumbel, meaning “tombstone”. His short poems, known as gruks or grooks, first started to appear in the daily newspaper Politikken shortly after the German occupation of Denmark in April 1940 under the pseudonym “Kumbel Kumbell”. He also invented the Soma cube and the board game Hex.

Hein, a direct descendant of Piet Pieterszoon Hein, the 17th century Dutch naval hero, was born in Copenhagen, Denmark. He studied at the Institute for Theoretical Physics of the University of Copenhagen (later to become the Niels Bohr Institute), and Technical University of Denmark. Yale awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1972.

n 1959, city planners in Stockholm, Sweden announced a design challenge for a roundabout in their city square Sergels Torg. Piet Hein’s winning proposal was based on a superellipse. He went on to use the superellipse in the design of furniture and other artifacts. He also invented a perpetual calendar called the Astro Calendar and marketed housewares based on the superellipse and its three-dimensional analog, the superegg.

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