Design Icon: GUBI Multi-Lite
In the world of design, certain creations defy time and trends. The GUBI Multi-Lite is one such masterpiece, a luminary icon from the 1970s that has never ceased to captivate and innovate.
This effortlessly iconic lighting solution challenged the conventions of traditional pendant lamps in form, function, and aesthetics, standing as a testament to the visionary designer Louis Weisdorf’s ability to transform objects into something truly extraordinary.
Shifting perspectives: The iconic shade
Originally conceived as a pendant light in 1972, the Multi-Lite’s design is a symphony of creativity and innovation. It centres around a bold cylindrical form encasing the bulb, bound by a large metal ring.
What sets it apart are two fully adjustable quarter-spherical shells, granting users the freedom to customise the lighting fixture according to their tastes and preferences. The versatility in configuration is staggering, making the Multi-Lite one of the most profoundly impressive pendant lights of its era, and it’s safe to say there’s still nothing quite like it today.
The designer behind the innovation
Louis Weisdorf, the genius behind the Multi-Lite design, was a graduate of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and a prominent architect and industrial designer from Copenhagen. Weisdorf’s extensive career, working for the likes of Verner Panton and Poul Henningsen, significantly influenced his design philosophy.
From Henningsen, he picked up the practice of concealing the visible bulb to soften light and reduce directional glare, creating a unique, more controlled glow. Weisdorf eventually went on to work for Poul Henningsen’s son, an architect for Tivoli Gardens, offering the opportunity to finally design his own lamps and create an iconic array of lighting fixtures.
Uninspired by the static shapes of traditional lighting, Weisdorf sought more from his designs with the concept of ‘more’ firmly in his mind while creating the Multi-Lite prototypes. He aimed to offer users a sense of freedom and creativity by allowing them to configure and customise the lights.
Speaking to Nest, Weisdorf explained the motivation behind his adaptable design, “I imagined it would appeal to a lot more people if they were able to put their own mark on the lamp design and change it whenever they felt the need, without compromising on the lighting qualities.”
The Multi-Lite’s ergonomic design surpassed anything else on the market at the time, pushing the boundaries of what to expect from a lamp of this nature. As the Multi-Lite evolved, it garnered recognition and acclaim, further affirming Weisdorf’s belief that people desired control over the appearance of their home lighting.
During an experimental phase, Weisdorf was intrigued by lamps featuring overlapping metal slats, leading to the creation of several lighting designs following this aesthetic. The Turbo Pendant, which featured cascading metal slats, earned him the ‘Die Gute Industrieform’ prize in 1973 and confirmed the success of this distinctive composition experimentation.
Further innovation led to the realisation that multi-coloured slats could unlock vast systems of variation. He aimed to offer users even more control and configuration, leading to the conception of the Multi-Lite with its adaptable, adjustable shells and shades.
A lasting legacy
In the present day, the GUBI Multi-Lite continues to stand as a shining example of pure innovation and expertise, gracing homes both modern and classic. The popularity of the lamp remains as strong as ever, with GUBI’s dedication to production and widespread influence on social media.
The newest addition to the Multi-Lite family, the portable table lamp version, retains the innovative features and effects that the original pendant introduced. It condenses the design into a portable form perfect for placement anywhere in the home.
We eagerly anticipate the Multi-Lite’s continued evolution, serving as a testament to Weisdorf’s enduring influence, imagination, and creativity.