Originally created as an oil lamp for Copenhagen’s well-known Apollo Bar & Kantine, the Apollo Portable Lamp is a minimalist design by Nikolaj Lorentz Mentze of Studio 0405. This portable version has a handcrafted look while also offering light in an easy and functional way. Use it indoors or outdoors, on the bedside table, bookshelf, or balcony for a warm glow anywhere you need it.
We visited Nikolaj L. Mentze from Studio0405 in his Copenhagen home to learn about the insipiration and craftsmanship behind the Apollo Portable Lamp.
The shape of the Apollo lamp is both unique and classic. Can you talk about the inspiration and intention for the piece?
Nikolaj L. Mentze: The brief for the Apollo Portable Lamp was to create lighting for Apollo Bar & Kantine in Copenhagen. It is a lamp that draws the light downwards on the table.
It is a small light source encased in handmade glass that conveys a new way to carry electrically-generated light as well as create a sense of intimacy.
The shape is referring to a recognisable archetype that feels somewhat unfinished and still emphasises the essence of a lamp.
Tell us about how Apollo Bar & Katine’s atmosphere is connected to the silhouette of the Apollo Portable Lamp.
Nikolaj L. Mentze: Seeing the Apollo Portable Lamp feels like meeting an old friend at the bar; someone you recognise from your past. It’s a pleasant feeling. You know it from you grandma’s house or your neighbour’s window.
Apollo Bar itself has references to some of best bars in the world, and the Apollo Portable Lamp follows suit with its recognisable silhouette.
What are the considerations when making a portable lamp, as opposed to one with a cable?
Nikolaj L. Mentze: If you think about it historically, cables are quite new! We previously had oil lamps and a bonfire.
The portable lamp is just a modern version of a 12.000 year old model.
Why is using glass important in the Apollo Portable Lamp?
Nikolaj L. Mentze: The lamp is made with honesty and a high level of craftsmanship. There’s a lot of professional pride that goes into the craft of the Apollo Portable Lamp.
The lamp is blown in one piece of opal glass, which builds on an ancient technique, passed down and refined over many centuries.
Can you talk through the process for hand-making the glass shape?
Nikolaj L. Mentze: A skilled glassblower will weigh the glass with the eye, and then blow up the lamp in one piece. The artisan uses a wooden mould to help the lamp take shape.
Nikolaj Lorentz Mentze is a Danish designer and the owner of Copenhagen-based architecture and design firm STUDIO 0405. He graduated at Kolding School of Design in Denmark, specialising in Product Design, before establishing STUDIO 0405 in 2015.
STUDIO 0405 is a design studio working in the intersection between space and object. It explores the culture of design’s historic, technical and aesthetic properties and how it can be qualified and further developed in an object.
The studio plays with our surroundings that enhance the everyday life and the dialogue between object and human in a given context through inherent materiality and craftsmanship.
The studio collaborates with other creatives such as artists, photographers and craftsmen on design projects with a wide range of clients.