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An illuminating feat of engineering

The Anglepoise lamp has a smart new rival

An illuminating feat of engineering

Image: Gravity Workshop

February 14 2011
Lucia van der Post

I’ve a bit of an obsession with reading lights. I’ve slept in the grandest hotels where I could only reach the light through a series of painful contortions. In the last splendid hotel I stayed in, the lights were so dim I could scarcely find my book, let alone read it. I was told grandly, “Oh, it’s part of the concept.” Ditch the concept, say I, and get some decent reading lights, something like the VéVé, designed for The London Library by artist, designer, photographer and inventor Tony McIntyre. At his The Gravity Workshop he was already working on lighting design of every kind so he seemed a natural to ask when The London Library wanted a light that met what it calls its “stringent practical requirements”.

He set about designing a light that was dimmable, flexible, and looked the part, which, in keeping with the newly revamped London Library, needed to be classic and yet contemporary. The VéVé (pictured) seems to me to do all this, and today one sits on every reading desk in the building. It’s very simple in shape, with a bendable stem, and runs on a high-efficiency halogen bulb. The lamp can be finished in black powder-coated paint (other colours are also available to order), as well as unfinished, polished aluminium. While I’ve always loved the Anglepoise, this is a very attractive alternative. Tony McIntyre now sells them from his website for £400-£500, depending on the finish.