Q&A with Søren Ravn Christensen

Søren Ravn Christensen is founder and Chief Creative Developer of VITA copenhagen. A former restaurant and bar owner, Søren struggled to find good quality lighting for affordable prices and, in 2008, decided to set up VITA copenhagen as the answer to this. 50% of any interior design is lighting; a statement that Søren has always respected and a message instilled in him as a result of his family links to the lighting industry.

SLOAN! sat down with Søren Ravn Christensen, founder of VITA copenhagen, to find out more about the story behind this lighting company and discover some top tips lighting and interior design.

Tell us about your design background and the beginning of VITA copenhagen.

After several years of concept developing and decorating galleries, nightclubs, bars and restaurants, I have spent the last 8 years developing and improving on sensible, affordable and timeless lighting. Like many of my previous projects, VITA copenhagen was sparked by the obvious potential of making affordable lighting for design-savvy people seeking good products that anyone can afford. Making the products flat-pack not only makes them in-expensive to produce it also means we can sell at a lower price and saves the environment at the same time.

What’s a key consideration when approaching lighting in interior design?

That it serves a purpose and does it elegantly without stealing all the attention, yet still makes you gaze in amazement. A light should always look equally as good turned off as it does on. Lights have the function of making other things visible when it is dark, but also making the environment, the interiors, looks inviting and pleasant when lit up. Some people make the mistake of simply installing a lightbulb or fluorescent light in a living room or kitchen and even though both places require different lights, no one should live in room lit up to resemble a cold basement, where everything looks dull and lifeless. Lights should help to make any room inviting to stay in, yet also practical if need be. Without thoughtful and beautiful lighting any other piece of furniture in the room will not live up to its potential.

How do you make a room ambient as well as bright and well lit?

That is rather straight forward. Ensure there are plenty of secondary lights in corners and along walls as well as one or two pendants above the centre of desired area where you would like to focus the most attention. Meaning, if there is a coffee table or a dining table or other focus areas of where you spend time in that particular room. Try to avoid direct lights such as spots, “naked“ bulbs or the aforementioned fluorescent lights. Should spots be needed, try to make sure that they can be directed towards the paintings or other areas of the walls, but never towards door openings, windows or mirrors. No one wants to be lit up when entering a room and reflecting lights are difficult to control and makes for interrupted ambience.

How can lighting make a room feel more spacious?

This question is very difficult, it is very much dependant on the interiors and how they are placed in a given room as well as the dynamics, dimensions and placing of windows and door openings, ceiling heights etc. In other words there are too many variables at play and lights will hardly ever do it alone.

In what style of room or space would you recommend a large shade or smaller lighting fitting?

Low ceiling rooms call for smaller pendants near walls and corners, whereas high ceiling rooms call for larger shades in focus areas of a given room, where light and ambience are needed. Unless the room is very high and more of a hall and walking area, always refrain from hanging larger pendants in the very centre of a high ceiling room as this will often kill the ambience and create unease in a room. A large centre piece pendant will always make you feel uncomfortable and vary of standing beneath or sitting under as if you are on stage or on display.

What’s the most exciting or challenging project you’ve worked on?

Making the EOS feather lamp to be all that VITA copenhagen is about – affordable, Nordic design, ambient, cosy, good looking in any room under any circumstance and flat packed, which was extremely difficult, but I think we have succeeded in making a completely new design and material no one else had thought about before, making us the leading feather lamp manufacturer in the world.

Do you have a favourite lighting design?

VITA copenhagen EOS, but our Clava Dine in White has everything that many dining table lamps lack – coolness, masculinity, while still coming across as fragile with its matt almost porcelain surface and sleek curves and topping it off with its “dancing dots” to spell-bind all the guests at your dinner table.

For more lighting ideas, please visit www.vitacopenhagen.com

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