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Saving Grace

They rescue industrial lamps and give them a second life; design-duo Blom & Blom create a modern aesthetic by restoring industrial lamps from East Germany.

By Cassandra Pizzey / 04-10-2012

Brothers Kamiel and Martijn Blom started their company from a shared passion for forgotten items and unique places. Both living part-time in Berlin, Germany, they fell in love with the industrial heritage resulting from the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

“It all started while exploring industrial sites, just for fun”, explains Martijn Blom, the business side of Blom & Blom. “Strolling around an old laboratory or military complex always gave us mixed feelings. On the one hand there is the amazing atmosphere, and on the other the frustration that the industrial treasures they hold would ultimately end up in a dumpster.”

Together with his creative brother Kamiel who has a background in furniture making, Martijn set out to save the objects – lamps in particular – they came across at various sites. “Basically, there are two things we love about these industrial lamps; the highly sophisticated designs and the stories they hold.”

The lamps by the duo have a typical Bauhaus aesthetic, the East-German style not only holds functionality but often have quirky features such as being explosion proof. Martijn: “The industrial terrains we come across often originate from WWII. They were later taken over by the Soviet Union, and abandoned with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The lamps represent the unique history. We consider them therefore not only as unique design that is simply not produced anymore, but also as a historical artifact.”

With a strong passion for authentic objects, Blom & Blom set out to create pieces with a story to tell. The lamps are restored and redesigned at workshops in Berlin and Amsterdam. “We consider it our mission to give these objects the appreciation they deserve by giving them a new existence.”

Finding the right places to look for interesting objects can prove to be a challenge. Doing their research is crucial for the brothers, “but generally it comes down to scouting for signs of life such as old chimneys or railway tracks”. Once a site is found permission needs to be asked from its owner, often a case of asking around the neighbourhood and finding information in libraries or archives.

“It always takes some persuading to actually get the permission to ‘rescue’ the objects; sometimes two smiling faces, sometimes a piece of Dutch cheese or a bottle of wine, sometimes just cold hard cash.”

With a number of projects to their name, including an office space for Berlin-based startup Gidsey, the duo combine contemporary furniture and their unique lighting objects to create inspiring work environments. It’s clear from this and other projects, that the duo have a great respect for authenticity and heritage.

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