Danish lighting manufacturer Nordisk Solar was founded in 1919 by Jacob L. Jørgensen and Herluf Sørensen and is well known today on the vintage markets for its mid-century modern pendants and layered lighting designs.
Nordisk Solar Compagni was based in several industries before it concentrated on lighting fixture production. Starting out as an import and wholesale company of electricity meters (which became a subsidiary called Danish Meter Workshop or Dansk Maalerværksted in 1924), then in radio production under the name Audiola. In the 1950s, sales of radio sets fell as television became increasingly accessible and affordable, and Audiola ceased production in 1958. From then on, Nordisk Solar Compagni—or simply “Solar”(as seen in adverts and catalogues from the era)—focused entirely on manufacturing high-quality lighting. Though many designs date from the 1950s or even earlier, it was in the 1960s that most lamps were produced, advertized, and sold—first in Denmark and then in Finland, Sweden and Germany from 1975.
Nordisk Solar used its expertise in using plastic for the production of radio sets, to create many colorful plastic lighting fixtures in the late-1950s and 1960s. The company also commissioned notable Danish architects and designers including Sigvard Bernadotte, Acton Bjørn, Max Brüel, Vagn Dyring, Anton Fogh Holm, Jørgen Kastholm & Preben Fabricius, Eva and Nils Koppel, Sven Middelboe, and Jørn Utzon—who later designed the Sydney Opera House—to create lighting fixtures for Solar. The manufacturer’s most iconic productions include Sven Middleboe’s Verona Pendant Lamp (1960s); Jørn Utzon’s Tivoli Pendant (1947-48, renamed P254 and reintroduced in the 1960s) and Navy Pendant or Sovaernspendel (1956)—which was created for the Royal Danish Navy offices, and was later updated and re-launched by Louis Poulsen under the new name Doo Wop; K Kewo’s Minisol Light (1960s); Preben Fabricius & Jørgen Kastholm’s P376 (1964, renamed Kastholm Pendant in 1980); and Vagn Dyring’s Granada Light (1982).
In 1989-90, Swedish lamp manufacturer Hans-Agne Jakobsson A/S took over the company, and production ended. In 2006, the company was reacquired by Solar A/S, an electrical, heating, plumbing, and ventilation technology company that no longer produces lighting.
The lighting designs produced in the 1950s and ’60s—the golden age of Scandinavian lighting design—by Nordisk Solar Compagni (referred to as Solar at the time) are highly sought-after items on the vintage market.