Ahm&Lund: ”Like a shell is hiding a pearl, the pendant conceals the light”

The Danish designer duo shares more on their new pendant lamp Clam — and the TV show that made it happen.
October 26, 2021

Isabel Ahm and Signe Lund participated in the TV show ”Danmarks Næste Klassiker” — a program where five different designers are presented for a new design task every third week — on National TV in 2019. 

— We were only allowed to be one person on ”stage”, so Isabel was the face outwards, but backstage, we collaborated and took equally part in the design and development of all the products. It was the TV show that catapulted our studio into what it is today, the duo tells.

The furniture architect, Isabel Ahm, and the cabinet maker, Signe Lund, form the mentioned studio, Ahm&Lund. In the TV show, their pendant Clam won the first prize in the lighting category, and this fall, it’s put in production by Fritz Hansen.

— The first steps in designing Clam were taking in nature, we were driven towards the reflection and translucency in nature itself. Denmark is surrounded by a long coastline of wide sand beaches, and an open sky where the sun travels slowly at a low angel offering a magnificent light. We wanted to capture this poetic light coming from the sky, with its indirect and diffuse illuminance. We were inspired by seashells. The translucency, the shapes, the lightness. Like a shell is hiding a pearl, the pendant conceals the light, and offers a breathtaking and pleasant ambience, says Ahm and Lund, continuing,

— It has been essential to us selecting strong, durable, and honest materials that age with a beautiful patina. Hence the brass is untreated and gets its character from lived life. The shells are made of hand-blown opal glass making every Clam unique, giving a soft and friendly light.

— Throughout research on light, we identified a need for a translucent lamp that could both illuminate the room but also the table. Leading to the point, where Clam can be modified by turning the brass screw, allowing one to lower the bottom shade and adjusting the light that pours out and into the room. It was key that no matter the setting one would never be dazzled by the light. Working with the option of adjusting the light setting, we had to work with creating a pendant that is just as beautiful on the inside as on the outside, introducing the jewelry-like diffuser that provides a glare-free light and ensures that the appearance is always welcoming and forming a calm atmosphere in the room. We found it interesting with a possibility for adjustment. So the idea of being able to configure the lamp enables you to adjust the lamp to how you want it and it also hides a little pearl inside, the light.

— We have been aiming to create a design that reaches further than its own time. Our intention was to make a lamp that was aesthetically sustainable, aiming for it to last for generations.

The duo’s next project is a moon clock, named Moonwork, in collaboration with clockmaker Rune Bakkendorff.

— It uses the lunar cycle to represent the passing of time and is a tall, freestanding clock that illustrates the lunar phases through the use of light and shadow. The aim of the project is to put focus on the rapid pace of modern life and the stress we experience as a result. We hope that people, by following a cycle other than the 24 hours of the day, are reminded that we are part of something bigger, that there are other rhythms to connect oneself to. The clock is produced for Snedkernes Efterårsudstilling 2021 with the theme Time, Tact and Tone, a celebration of the exhibition’s 40th anniversary.

— We are also working on a series of furniture for churches that are exploring new ways of using religious rooms, such as chairs introducing alteration in the interior instead of static benches — offering an option to set up small enclaves or stacking the chairs and clearing space. The past long time with Corona has shown us that big institutions have to be ready to change habits and address the norms at a current time, rethinking their interior. 

In 2022, Ahm&Lund has a solo exhibition at Officinet in Copenhagen, opening April 26: ”We will be showing our investigations about sustainable upholstery, knockdown furniture, and many of our experiments in ceramics and brass.”