Founded in 1954 by Carel O. Lockhorn, Raak is recognized as one of the most important Dutch lighting manufacturers of the 20th century. Before launching his business in Amsterdam, Lockhorn had worked for lighting giant Philips in Eindhoven (where he later opened a second Raak outlet). Raak's tagline was “Illuminated Architecture”—Lichtarchitectuur in Dutch—which emphasized the brand's commitment to producing designs that integrate harmoniously with sophisticated, high concept interiors. Raak’s glass and metal , floor lamps, pendants, and wall lights achieved an aesthetic that was both elegant and futuristic through high quality materials with innovative forms.
In the 1960s, Raak began collaborating with the well-known artist and glassmaker Willem van Oyen. While the marriage of art and industry was common in the Netherlands—where the lines between the creative professions were often blurred and many artists also worked as designers—the results of van Oyen's contributions Raak were far from ordinary. Raak promoted Van Oyen’s iconic, handcrafted Chartres Wall Lights (c.1964) as smeltschilderijen, or "melted paintings,." The series was inspired by the magnificent stained glass windows of Chartres Cathedral in France.
Raak regularly collaborated with international designers and architects, including E. J. (Evert Jelle) Jelles, Sergio Asti, Bertrand Balas, and Nanny Still. Two of Raak’s most celebrated lamps are the cylindrical, metal Fuga Lamp by Maija-Liisa Komulainen (c.1970) and the super simple, glass Globe 2000 Floor Lamp by Frank Ligtelijn (1961). Following its quick success, the Globe 2000 was produced as a pendant and wall lamp as well. Its minimalist aesthetic is an excellent example of Raak’s signature style and has become a vintage classic.
In 1974, Lockhorn sold the company but remained a director until 1977. In 1999, the company became a part of the Centre for Light Architecture in Drachten.
One of the most significant lighting firms of the postwar period and a key contributor to the "Space Age" style of the 1960s and '70s, Raak lamps are highly sought after by collectors and vintage enthusiasts around the world.