Block Lamp is a homage to the Edison lightbulb says Harri Koskinen

Most Loved: Finnish designer Harri Koskinen explains how he came up with the idea of encasing a lightbulb in a glass box to create his iconic Block Lamp in the next movie in our exclusive video series.

Block lamp by Harri Koskinen

Block Lamp consists of a simple lightbulb encased within two pieces of transparent cast glass, which fit together to form a brick-sized block.

Koskinen came up with the idea in 1996 while studying at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki. However, he says he didn't set out to make a lamp.

Block lamp by Harri Koskinen

"The university gave us a brief to create a silver wedding gift item," he explains in the movie, which Dezeen filmed at his studio in Helsinki.

"I decided to work with cast glass and came up with the idea that the glass package is the gift itself."

Block lamp by Harri Koskinen

Koskinen tried placing a range of different items inside glass blocks before realising he could use lightbulb to create a lamp.

"I really made a homage to the Edison lightbulb," he says.

Block lamp by Harri Koskinen

Koskinen created a graphite mould to cast the glass blocks in and initially produced the lamps in small quantities himself.

"It was a very exciting time," he says. "I made around 40 pieces and they all sold out overnight."

Block lamp by Harri Koskinen

The design was spotted by Swedish brand Design House Stockholm, which approached Koskinen to produce the lamp on a much larger scale. Launched in 1997, the lamp was an instant hit around the world.

"It was right away available from the US and the UK and even from Japan," Koskinen recalls.

Block lamp by Harri Koskinen

New York's Museum of Modern Art agreed a deal with Design House Stockholm to be the exclusive stockist of the Block Lamp in the United States.

A few years later, in 2002, the museum acquired the light for its permanent collection. Koskinen believes the product's success is down to its simplicity.

Block lamp by Harri Koskinen

"When you create a piece that has no design, it speaks for itself," he says. "There are so many ways to place it in different positions and different locations."

"It's been great to see that Block Lamp is still popular after 20 years."

Harri Koskinen portrait
Harri Koskinen

This movie was filmed by Dezeen in Helsinki. The Block Lamps were provided by Design House Stockholm and shot by Dezeen in London.

Most Loved is a collaboration between Dezeen and car brand MINI celebrating design objects that have found a special place in people's hearts. We are interviewing 16 of the world's leading designers about their most popular and enduring designs.

You can watch all the movies as we publish them on our special Most Loved microsite: