Posts Tagged ‘Moroso’


May 30, 2011

For most people, a tea strainer has only one purpose: to strain the tea leaves when making tea. It would be impossible to think of another use. But for Ingo Maurer, a plain tea strainer can form the basis of inspiration for yet another work of art: the Mozzkito desk lamp.

When I first saw this lamp many years ago, I was surprised by the unorthodox choice of materials. A tea strainer houses a halogen light bulb and is suspended in mid-air by the use of a thin metal stem that sits on a metal base. The metal stem doubles as a pipe for concealing the intricate wiring used to supply the halogen lamp with electricity. But the novelty does not stop there. The tea strainer features an assembly of protruding filaments.

Judging from the name of the lamp, it is clear that Ingo Maurer drew inspiration for this piece from the intricate, almost fragile, silhouette of mosquitos. And the desk lamp he created seems to be carrying all those features. Besides the metal base, the only big and heavy object, everything else is completely thin, almost weightless. A slight touch of the metal stem or the strainer can cause the light to oscillate, reminding us of its fragile nature; when undisturbed it stands majestically.

Here is the story of how I became an owner of a Mozzkito lamp: After moving to Germany, I started exploring the city of Heidelberg to find shops that sell furniture and get ideas for my apartment. One of the shops I discovered, and was destined to become one of my favourites, was Seyfarth Einrichtungen, located at Plock, a parallel road to the main one in the old part of the city. Seyfarth was selling furniture and objects from the most famous design houses in Europe – Vitra, Moroso, Cassina to name but a few. Apart from the showroom at the front of the store, they also had 3-4 rooms at the back. It was more like a storage room to furniture and objects that were once the centre of attention at the front, but gradually lost their appeal. In the back rooms, instead of the aesthetically pleasing placement of furniture and objects like the front showroom, there was just a plain juxtaposition of items, without any effort to look nice. Some of them were even damaged.

I only discovered the back rooms of Seyfarth several months after visiting the store to get ideas for my apartment. And among the chairs, the wardrobes and the desks at the far end of the room, I saw it gathering dust at a shadowy corner. An Ingo Maurer Mozzkito desk lamp, which despite a bend on its metal rod, it retained its grace.

I quickly asked one of the store managers how much it cost, and bargained the price because of the bend in the metal rod. I paid the money and a few minutes later was out in the streets, clutching a paper box containing the lamp with the tea strainer protruding out of the box (Seyfarth did not have the original box). On my way home, I still remember the glances of passers-by on what it was that I was carrying.

When I moved from Germany to England, I insisted on taking this lamp with me, even though it meant I needed to create a special box to transport it and several “Zerbrechlich” (Fragile) tags. It was only 3 years ago that the lamp began having a problem: it started burning the halogen lamp only hours after I have changed it. For this reason, the lamp was disassembled.

It took me two years, and a threat from my flatmate to throw the lamp away that made me to contact Ingo Maurer to find out if the lamp could be repaired. It turned out that the problem was caused by the wiring of the metal rod; even though it had survived the initial bend, it has deteriorated dramatically during the past few years. A few weeks later, a new metal rod was delivered to me from Germany and used it restore my Mozzkito to its former glory.

As I finish this post, the light illuminating my Mac keyboard comes from Mozzkito; which for a very long time – and for more time to come – is one of my [obsessions]*.


[first image © LambdaPhage, second image © Ingo Maurer]