Over the years, Berlin has been responsible for more lights and lanterns than any other city worldwide. In 1882, the first permanent electric street lights in the world were erected in Berlin. With the city in the midst of a phase where, due to its role both presently and historically, it is seen as a major centre for innovation and reconstruction in street lighting and other fields, sensibility for the city’s historical landscape and responsibility for projects affecting its urban space in the future go hand-in-hand.
Since the 1980s, Selux has been developing both faithful reconstructions of historic lanterns and new designs, which have critically transformed the ideas inherent in historic models into creative, contemporary styles. We at Selux are proud to be able to play such an active role in restoring the appearance of Berlin’s historical centre in such a conspicuous manner.
Proof that historical reconstructions of lanterns are one of the strengths of Selux can be seen from, amongst others, the Hardenberg lanterns on the Kurfürstendamm and the Witzleben lanterns in Kreuzberg and the area around the Schloss Charlottenburg. Since 1998, Schupmann lanterns can once again be found lighting up the area in front of the Brandenburg Gate and Berlin’s grand boulevard, Unter den Linden.
In developing replicas of the original lanterns, care was taken at all times to ensure these looked both historically authentic and met the high demands of modern lighting technology. Selux has decided to dedicate an exhibition to the historical development of electrical lighting focusing especially on Berlin. Interested visitors will be able to view a large number of original historical luminaries from the period 1850 – 1914 as well as the classical replica lanterns produced by Selux. Amongst the attractions on exhibition will be an icon of industrial design — Peter Behrens’ magnificent economy arc lamp (Sparbogenlampe). We will be delighted to be able to explain the workings of the electric carbon arc lamp based on a demonstration of a fully-functioning 120-year-old arc lamp.