First patented and produced in 1933, the Coolicon® shade set standards everywhere. It was the choice for lighting in factories, workshops, mills and farm buildings during the progressive industrialisation of the 1930s. It was employed throughout London Underground, BBC and NHS for offices, workshops and back room areas. The immensely practical yet elegantly simple light was seen in the corridors of power in government and military offices during the 1940s, and even Churchill’s War Rooms featured a Coolicon light in the kitchen.
White Coolicon® shades were specified for hospital wards and offices during the rapid development of the NHS in the 1950s. The popularity of the classic shade continued throughout the ‘60s and beyond. Today it remains a design classic sought after for work as well as domestic spaces and still offering the same practical benefits that were responsible for its universal popularity from the very beginning:
Light where needed Strong, accurate work light reflected down by white, high gloss vitreous enamel Top openings to give a soft ambient light above and vent heat from lamp and holder, giving bulbs a longer life Classical, timeless design in the best tradition of industrial design solutions achieving a perfect synergy of form and function
Coolicon® Lighting has finally put the classic original shade back into production. The re-launched Coolicon® shades with the clear, simple lines and enamelled, high gloss finishes are true to the original - made in England from steel, with a two part welded gallery and reflector respecting the quest for highest quality standards in manufacturing to ensure maximum performance and long life - traditionally the benchmarks of good industrial design in Great Britain.
The re-launched original sits alongside the contemporary lighting range produced by Coolicon® Lighting – hand made in England from finest materials using traditional crafts processes. Titled the “Craftsman's Range”, this collection champions traditional skills refined over generations and featuring British heritage materials such as fine bone china. Still made in Stoke-on-Trent by masters of their craft, the incredibly thin Coolicon® fine bone china reflectors with their translucent quality guarantee the rich, warm glow that made the shade such an immensely popular light for all occasions and locations.
LONDON UNDERGROUND CONNECTION:
As far as great inventions are concerned, Great Britain is a nation of many ‘firsts’, which have become such integral parts of the daily lives of millions of people that they are taken for granted.
In the world of marketing and branding, one of the most visible, brilliant, coherent and lasting, but perhaps also most taken for granted examples is the evolution of the corporate identity of what is today Transport for London and the modern Underground map by Harry Beck. The map as we know it today was first released in 1933, the same year as the first Coolicon® shade, and the map and Coolicon® became icons of Britain.
A corporate identity that embraces a complex package ranging from architecture, graphic design, product and industrial design to advertising and fine art, all based on the visionary design philosophy of one man: Frank Pick. The British transport administrator, while working as the organisation’s marketing and publicity officer at the turn of the last century, instilled and consequently implemented this vision into all sectors of the organisation over the next decades. It was Frank Pick's firm conviction "that the goodness of a thing is its fitness for use! If it fails on this first test, no amount of ornamentation or finish will make it any better - it will only make it more expensive and more foolish"!
In the sector of product design, the Coolicon® light is a perfect example of this maxim.