For this week’s ‘Your Home Needs This’, I’m looking at by Lassen’s Kubus 4 candleholder – a classic design you’ll have seen over and over again in beautifully styled Scandinavian homes. Designed by Danish architect Mogens Lassen, a pioneer of Danish Functionalism, the Kubus 4, as the name suggests, is a minimal cube-shaped frame topped with four slender cylinders for candles.
Like many designs it took a while to come into fruition, finally taking the shape we know and love in 1962. But, good things come to those who wait. It may have been created over 50 years ago, but the Kubus 4 shows no sign of going out of fashion or losing its allure – for me, it’s a truly timeless design that would not look out of place in the portfolios of many young contemporary designers making waves out there today.
Lassen designed the Kubus 4 as a reaction against the overtly decorative and elaborative candleholders found in homes of the time. Inspired by the Bauhaus and its geometric shapes, he believed good design should be accessible to the people.
For a while the design simply stood unadorned on his desk while he carefully refined the proportions and the mathematics of the cube shape. Fascinated by the way things worked and fit together, you can almost sense his architectural background in the candleholders’ sharp, clean lines and three-dimensional quality.
It was in 1962 that the first Kubus was made – the Kubus 8, a similar-shaped cube but with space for eight candles. Presented as a work of art, one was the centrepiece of a dinner party hosted by the famous family of Birger Christensen, where architect Finn Juhl was a guest. A curtain was dramatically swept aside to reveal this modern design and versions were soon snapped up by close friends and close architect colleagues. Indeed, to begin with it wasn’t even put into production.
Today, many years later, the Kubus candlesticks are made by skilled artisans in the town of Holstebro in Denmark. The pieces of steel are carefully welded together and sanded for a sharp finish. They’re then lacquered in black or white, or nickel, brass or copper-plated, and stamped for authenticity, so you can be sure you’re getting the real deal.
Watch the making of one below:
The collection, developed into a mathematical series of candlesticks topped with candleholders, now also includes the Kubus bowl based on original sketches by Mogens Lassen.
As an architect, Mogens Lassen, born in 1901, mainly designed residential buildings – namely, modernist, white, Bauhaus boxes. Friends and colleagues with Ole Wanscher, Arne Jacobsen and Hans Bretton-Meyer, he learnt his craft at the studio of architect Tyge Hvass. I had never really come across his work before, but he has a fascinating history.
In 1927, he travelled to Paris and worked for an engineering company. Here he met and was inspired by the famous Le Corbusier, but gracefully refused a position in his studio, deeming his French not good enough. On return to Denmark, Lassen opened his own studio and became part of a movement promoting Danish design and craftsmanship. Like many architects of his time, he would create whole concepts for home, from the architecture right down to the kitchens, chairs, tables and sofas. And of course the candleholder.
This year, to celebrate Mogens Lassen’s 115th birthday, by Lassen has released a special limited edition version of the Kubus 4 in the perfect shade of cool grey. A very calm and understated addition to any home – a true design icon to be passed down from generation to generation.
It’ll be available at the beginning of September, but hurry, it’s first come first serve! I’ll race you…
All images: courtesy by Lassen