At 32, I’m already sort of an old dog who struggles to learn new tricks. I like tradition. I like to come home and feel the comfort of stacks of books piling up around a fully broken-in armchair. But, I love contemporary lighting, and I have lots of clients who veer toward the sleek and modern. Even a classic interior benefits from some pieces that are a bit edgier. That’s why I’m incredibly excited about our newest partner, Umage.
Based in Copenhagen, Umage’s products are all influenced by simple Scandinavian design. A lot of people have a sort of reverence for this simple, clean look. It’s a reverence I don’t personally share, so what really excites me about Umage is how many pieces have been designed to serve multiple functions and how creative one can get in putting together their various modular components. I am especially enamored of the design and price point of all of their lighting.
My favorite fixture is the Asteria table lamp. A lot of table lamps on the market are overly attention-grabbing in one way or another. Asteria is sleek without being characterless. Its thin, colored disk of diffusible LED light is punctured by a brass support in kabob skewer fashion. It feels very contemporary but also harkens a sense of 1940s office efficiency.
I can’t decide whether I want one in Ruby Red for my office desk or a Pearl White pair for my bedside tables. Best of all, Asteria has a very well hidden USB port in its base and is available as a floor lamp, pendant or flush mount.
That’s par for the course with most Umage light fixtures. Actually, the Asteria collection is one of the very few that’s not compatible with Umage's novel and versatile lighting accessories. Clave also has a similarly midcentury vibe, and it can be mounted using their swag, canopy, or willow kits.
The swag, canopy, and willow are like luxury Ikea without a big jump in price. The swag is just a bulb socket with a long fabric cord plug, while the canopy is for hardwiring. Both are a steal at $19.00. The willow is available in a single or double configuration and allows any one or two of Umage’s fixtures to hang off the wall and float over a piece of furniture. The effect is similar to that of the famous Arco light I’m so tired of seeing, but much more fun. Arco is a beautiful Modern light, but it almost always seems to be in rooms that are way too small for it to really sing. Umage's willow is scaled to work well in rooms of modest size.
When I first saw the Eos, which not only looks like but actually is just a giant ball of feathers, I hated it. But then I imagined a considerable number of them hanging at varied heights right next to each other like a dense cluster of fluffy clouds obscuring the ceiling above. The spatial effect one could create over a dining table would be magical, and the cost would still be less than a lot of chandeliers out there. This is what I mean when I talk about the versatility of Umage's pieces. They can carry you away on an inventive daydream that may just result in project gold.
By Peter Spalding
March 23, 2021