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Looking at the JWDA Lamp for Danish brand Menu, it takes a moment to discern the inspiration as gas lamps from pre-modern times. With the proportions simplified and subtly tweaked, the design blends the delicate and the raw with a milky opal glass shade set on a gutsy brass, steel or black base. Named for its designer, Stockholm-based Jonas Wagell, the lamp provides soft, cozy illumination from the supplied frosted bulb. Easily adjust the light level with a twist of the brass button to alter the ambience in any room, whether on a side table, tucked on a bookshelf or placed on a desk.
"It's about creating aesthetically pleasing designs that evoke true feelings,” Menu founder Bjarne Hansen told the online magazine Lonny, “as well as improving processes in people's daily lives.” Ranging from tabletop objects to bath fixtures to lighting and furniture, the Danish brand’s pursuit of "soft minimalism" involves collaborations with designers from all over the world. The company’s guiding spirit is a quest for functional originality—with each product having either a new purpose, incorporating a new material or utilizing a new production method.
Menu is just as dedicated to responsible manufacturing as it is innovation. Working to locate new partners in developing countries around the world, the company searches out local factories or small private co-operations to turn out high quality goods and also provide a better economic foundation for the people involved in that production. "We’re passionate about design, new materials and clever details," say the folks at Menu, "and we dream about making a difference."
“My ambition is to create simple and honest products that have strong character and warmth. Often with humor and color," says Swedish architect and designer Jonas Wagell. Based in Stockholm, he originalIy worked as a graphic designer and project manager before he pivoted to architecture and design. His firm JWDA maintains a multi-disciplinary focus on brand management, architecture and product design.
From his design studio located in an old dairy shop, Jonas has collaborated on projects for Normann Copenhagen, Muuto and Menu, and his range encompasses everything from a teapot to the prefab house concept Mini House. But he always strives for a personal touch. "Maybe my work could be described as expressive minimalism," says the designer. "I believe it is important that design has a connection to local traditions and heritage on some level, without risking being outdated with time."