Originally designed for:St. Catherine’s College
Arne Jacobsen designed the AJ Oxford table lamp for the spectacular dining hall at St. Catherine's College in Oxford, which was opened in 1964.
The AJ Oxford table lamp was part of Arne Jacobsen’s total interior design of St Catherine’s College in Oxford, which was officially opened in 1964. Among other places, AJ Oxford was used, in combination with the wall-mounted AJ Eklipta lamp, to illuminate the college’s large dining hall, where students and fellows have their meals together to this day.
For the college Arne Jacobsen designed a simple lamp model to be installed on the dining hall tables. That same year, AJ Oxford was also launched by the manufacturer, Louis Poulsen, in a free-standing model with the simple, graphic lampshade mounted on an elegant dark, bent tubular stand. Louis Poulsen relaunched both the fixed and the free-standing model in 2023.
The taut composition, geometric shapes and clear contrast between the dark base and the light-coloured shade combine to give the AJ Oxford table lamp its distinctly graphic expression.
The AJ Oxford table lamp is a further development of the AJ Eklipta wall lamp which Arne Jacobsen developed in the mid 1950s. While AJ Eklipta appears as an abstract, luminous circle on the wall, AJ Oxford looks like a sculpture on the table. The taut composition, geometric shapes and clear contrast between the dark base and the light-coloured shade combine to give the lamp its distinctly graphic expression.
Arne Jacobsen designed the lamp as part of his comprehensive total design of St Catherine’s College in Oxford. His design for this time-honoured college includes the buildings and surrounding grounds as well as new furniture and lamp series that are still in use at the college to this day. In the dining hall, Arne Jacobsen used Eklipta lamps on the raw yellow brick walls of the dining hall supplemented with rows of AJ Oxford lamps on the tables. The lighting thus underscores the room’s column structure and Arne Jacobsen’s use of exposed construction elements throughout this architectural design.
At St Catherine’s College, Arne Jacobsen used a fixed version of AJ Oxford which he later developed into a free-standing lamp in collaboration with Louis Poulsen. At the time, the lamp was launched in two versions: a short model with a top shade and a tall model without a top shade. The design was later discontinued, but to mark the centenary of Arne Jacobsen’s birth, the tall lamp was relaunched in a limited edition in 2002. Since spring 2023, AJ Oxford has been available in all the models Arne Jacobsen designed, including both the fixed and free-standing models on short or tall stands.
Sources: Arne Jacobsen Design Archives. / Stenum Poulsen, K., Skaarup Larsen, A., & Staunsager, S. (2020). Arne Jacobsen – Designing Denmark. Kolding: Trapholt. / Thau, C., & Vindum, K. (1998). Arne Jacobsen. Copenhagen: Arkitektens Forlag.