Palainco Seriously light minded

Lyfa’s logo dates back to prehistoric times

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In its heyday, Lyfa produced highly original, imaginative and fashionable lamps designed by unconventional inventors like Bent Karlby, Louis Weisdorf and Simon Henningsen. The company logo, on the other hand, reflected prehistoric times instead of referring to a modern and fresh future—quite a contrast with the lamps they made.

  • Though it seems almost absurdly out of place for a modern design company, the logo is distinctive, timeless and a bit mysterious. But it also raises some questions: why did Lyfa for instance choose this specific logo? What was the origin and when did Lyfa start using it? How did the logo evolve over time and what does this development tell us about the history of the company? A comprehensive study of the catalogues in the Palainco Archive has given us new insights.

  • 07_Palainco_Lyfa_Louis_Weisdorf_Bent_Karlby_Simon_Henningsen_Logo_Palainco_Archive

    The initials LYFA symbolise light and so the renowned Danish lamp factory chose the old Scandinavian symbol of a boat carrying the sun across the sky as their trademark. The image in the trademark was actually based on a carving, which was made in the late Bronze Age (900-400 B.C.) Lyfa indicate in their Catalogue No. 9 (1951) that these kinds of carvings “…may be regarded as the magic images of an agricultural people, used in the service of the fertility cult.”

  • 02_Palainco_Lyfa_Louis_Weisdorf_Bent_Karlby_Simon_Henningsen_Logo_Catalogue_No_9_Nysum-Stone_1944_Palainco_Archive The Nysum Stone with the carving of the boat carrying the sun (from the Palainco archive, Lyfa Catalogue No 9, 1951).

    The Nysum stone with the carving was discovered by a farmer in Northern Jutland, Denmark. In the catalogue of 1951, only 7 years after the stone was found, Lyfa informs us that the original stone is in the possession of the farmer. We wonder if it still is…

  • 08_Palainco_Lyfa_Louis_Weisdorf_Bent_Karlby_Simon_Henningsen_Logo_Palainco_Archive

    Lyfa initially started as Københavns Lampe og Lysekronefabrik (Copenhagen Lamp and Chandelier Factory), but changed its name to Lyfa in 1930. As the logo is based on the Nysum stone that has been found in 1944 we can safely assume that Lyfa only started using the trademark in the second half of the forties.

  • 03_Palainco_Lyfa_Louis_Weisdorf_Bent_Karlby_Simon_Henningsen_Logo_Catalogue_No_33_Colour_Chart_1955_Palainco_Archive-small Colour chart, from Lyfa Catalogue 33, issued in 1955 (from the Palainco archive).
  • Another interesting conclusion comes from this really beautiful colour chart, which we found in Catalogue 33 (issued in 1955). If we concentrate on the image at the top left we see that Lyfa celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 1954. Other sources on the Internet just mention that Lyfa “began life during the early years of the 20th century”. Based on this leaflet we are actually able to say that the company was founded in 1904.

  • 04_Palainco_Lyfa_Louis_Weisdorf_Bent_Karlby_Simon_Henningsen_Logo_Catalogue_No_33_Colour_Chart_1955_Palainco_Archive Image symbolising the fiftieth anniversary (from the Palainco archive, insert Lyfa Catalogue No. 33, 1955).
  • The style was consistently used throughout various forms of communication by the company, as the letterhead and stamp below show.

  • 05_Palainco_Lyfa_Louis_Weisdorf_Bent_Karlby_Simon_Henningsen_Logo_Letterhead_Palainco_Archive Letterhead in 1955 (from the Palainco archive).
    06_Palainco_Lyfa_Louis_Weisdorf_Bent_Karlby_Simon_Henningsen_Logo_Stamp_Franking_letters_1951_Palainco_Archive Stamp for franking letters, 1951 (from the Palainco archive).
  • Like most other companies, Lyfa changed their logo over time. At first it was just about making subtle changes to the font and the position of the sun in the logo.

  • 09_Palainco_Lyfa_Louis_Weisdorf_Bent_Karlby_Simon_Henningsen_Logo_Palainco_Archive
    10_Palainco_Lyfa_Louis_Weisdorf_Bent_Karlby_Simon_Henningsen_Logo_1976_Palainco_Archive
  • 11_Palainco_Lyfa_Louis_Weisdorf_Bent_Karlby_Simon_Henningsen_Logo_Fog_and_Morup_Palainco_Archive

    But after Lyfa merged with Fog & Mørup in the mid-70s, the logo changed more drastically. An even more modern font was used and the colour red replaced the characteristic usage of orange.

  • Lyfa/Fog & Mørup was taken over by Lyskær Belysning In the early 1980s. The Fog & Mørup brand was discontinued immediately, while Lyskaer-Lyfa continued to produce lights under the Lyfa label until 1991, when it was incorporated into Horn Lighting.

    To emphasise the difference between the logo and the products we have made a small selection of some of Lyfa’s wonderful and still-modern lamps.

  • 12_Palainco_Lyfa_Louis_Weisdorf_Bent_Karlby_Simon_Henningsen_Logo_Pendant_Multi-Lite Louis Weisdorf – Multi-Lite (source: Lauritz).
    12_Palainco_Lyfa_Louis_Weisdorf_Bent_Karlby_Simon_Henningsen_Logo_Pendant_Tivoli Simon Henningsen – Tivoli (source: Novac).
  • 14_Palainco_Lyfa_Louis_Weisdorf_Bent_Karlby_Simon_Henningsen_Logo_Wall_Lamp_Kvadrille Bent Karlby – Kvadrille (source: Visavu).
    15_Palainco_Lyfa_Louis_Weisdorf_Bent_Karlby_Simon_Henningsen_Logo_Knud_Hjerting_Pendant_Catalogue_No_28_Palainco_Archive Knud Hjerting – P-208 (from the Palainco archive).
  • 16_Palainco_Lyfa_Louis_Weisdorf_Bent_Karlby_Simon_Henningsen_Logo A small sticker.

    We have not seen the striking logo on their lamps; occasionally the brand name Lyfa is indicated.

  • 17_Palainco_Lyfa_Louis_Weisdorf_Bent_Karlby_Simon_Henningsen_Logo Name punched in metal.

    In case you own an unlabelled lamp and you’d like to know if Lyfa produced it, we are open to comparing pictures of your lamp with lamps presented in the catalogues from the Palainco Archive. Just let us know.

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  • Unless otherwise stated, all material is sourced and/or generated internally. All rights reserved.

    • Text: Lyfa, Classic Modern & Palainco
    • Image sources: Various Lyfa catalogues, Visavu, Novac, Lauritz & the Palainco Archive

    The article and its contents may not be copied or reproduced in any part or form without the prior written permission of the copyright holders.

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