The sliding lamp is a custom version of a new type of luminaire that Max Ernst Haefeli (1901–1976) presented for the first time in the exhibition Form ohne Ornament (Form without Ornament). The functional lamps with opal glass shades were inspired by industrial lighting but in a more elegant and finely crafted form.
This lamp by Max Ernst Haefeli, which can be slid along a curved rail on casters, was a custom design made for the architect Karl Egender and his wife Trudy Egender-Wintsch, a painter. Until 1985, it hung over a dining table, likewise designed by Haefeli, in a stately period apartment in Meilen that the couple had filled with a wonderful mix of furnishings by designer friends as well as their own creations. The oldest pieces—a small Elektron table as well as the sliding ceiling lamp—probably date from Egender’s membership in the Swiss collective that was established by the SWB for the Stuttgart Werkbund exhibition Die Wohnung (The Dwelling) in 1927. Haefeli first presented this lamp type with its opal glass sphere topped by an opal glass shade in February–March 1927, in the exhibition Form ohne Ornament (Form without Ornament) at the Kunstgewerbemuseum Zürich, accompanying his first “type furniture.” Conceived for series production, the Series II lamp group included a pendant, a wall, and a floor lamp. The glass shades came from Schott in Jena, as did those for two further series, designed for the Die Wohnung exhibition and Das Neue Heim II (The New Home II) exhibition in Zurich in 1928. As is typical for Haefeli, despite some markedly technoid elements and the unadorned glass shades, neither the standard models nor the one-off edition announce their factory-made quality with a cheap-seeming “manifesto pomposity” (Peter Meyer). (Arthur Rüegg)