About fifty miles inland of the Baltic Sea, on the shores of a tiny lake, sits one of the oldest companies in Sweden: Häfla Bruk, a metal factory founded in 1682. Häfla began as a foundry that made iron horseshoes and nails using hydroelectric power (eg, a wooden water wheel); today, Häfla experiments with new types of steel fabrication. One recent innovation–which they call “expanded metal”–punctures a sheet of steel with tiny holes, then deforms the holes by pulling them away from the main plate, creating a delicate mesh.
Young Stockholm-based design trio From Form With Love were touring the Häfla factory last year when a wide slab of expanded metal caught their collective eye. “It struck us as very poetic, resembling a textile or lace,” the write. “We knew immediately that we wanted to make a lamp with the material.”
Working with Italian company Cappellini, the group unveiled the finished lamp in April at the Salone del Mobile. The Lace Metal Lamp is made out of two simple piece of Häfla’s expanded metal, welded together to form a base and shade. The fragile-looking mesh (which is actually incredibly strong) makes unexpectedly beautiful patterns when lit, but FOWL says the lamp’s real beauty is in its material efficiency: “there is nothing going to waste when [the metal is] produced. The holes are made by puncturing and stretching the metal. It’s so rational.”