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John Pawson is the latest star designer to contribute to Wästberg's electricity-free lamp series

Swedish lighting company Wästberg has unveiled its latest addition to its electricity-free lamp range known as the Holocene collection. Holocene No. 4 has been created by British design/architecture stalwart John Pawson, the man who wrote the book on simplicity in design. No really, he actually produced a book about it called Minimum. His lamp for Holocene reinforces his loyalty to minimal design, taking on the visual traits of traditional oil lanterns and meticulously reducing them to their essence in terms of function, form and palette. Pawson has created a liftable container for fire – a tiny light-bucket with a signature absence of non-functional frills.

Cover image: Holocene No 4, John Pawson for Wästberg, photo by Gilbert McCarragher

Holocene No 4, John Pawson for Wästberg, photo by Gilbert McCarragher

Although visually it feels closest to a very polished version of the generic household gas or butane lamp, Pawson's creation is an oil lantern, its fuel belonging to a decidedly more romantic family of hand-held lamps. It's been fabricated in stainless steel and aluminium, with matte exterior surfaces and a polished internal core that maximise the glow of the lantern's internal flame. Out of the entire Holocene series (which includes electrical-free lamps designed by creative giants Jasper Morrison, David Chipperfield, and Ilse Crawford), Pawson's lantern has the most utilitarian feel about it. Holocene No. 4 confidently appears as though it was genuinely designed for use, as opposed to an object for lifestyle accentuation. Its materials and dimensions allow it to be used both indoor and outdoor – it can be both hung or stood on a surface, and is small enough to sit comfortably on a windowsill or mantelpiece.

Holocene No 1, Ilse Crawford for Wästberg

Holocene No 2, David Chipperfield for Wästberg

Holocene No 3, Jasper Morrison for Wästberg

As a collection in its entirety, Holocene puts forward light sources that eschew electricity and instead focus on light created with fire. “Holocene was a geological period, stretching from 11.700 to around 100 years ago," explains Magnus Wästberg, Founder and CEO of Wästberg. "It started after the last ice age and can be described as the period when man lived in harmony with nature, was careful with resources, cherished fire, and did not allow it to run amok”.

Holocene No 4, John Pawson for Wästberg, photo by Gilbert McCarragher

Speaking about his collaboration with Wästberg, Pawson says “working with Wästberg was a real opportunity to design something I really wanted. Lighting is the biggest element of architecture and completely changes one’s perceptions of space. I wanted to create something that had its own presence, so that when you set it down it makes its own atmosphere”. For WästbergWestberg, the Holocene collection is important for its mission to bring the focus in lighting back to joy. "It's a way of making people think about lighting," they say, a way of making people think about "which kind of lighting makes us feel good". This exact kind, we think.


For a closer look at the Holocene collection, visit



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