Le Klint has a history, dating back in the early 20th century, as Danish architect and civil engineer PV Jensen-Klint (1853-1930) folded the first hand pleated lampshade to a fit a paraffin lamp. Both the lamp and lampshade was designed by PV Jensen-Klint. Friends and family including the two sons, Tage Klint (1884-1953) and Kaare Klint (1888-1954), helped in refining this new hand pleated lampshade, and everyone received a shade every year as a gift of gratitude for their time.
In 1943, Tage Klint designed a new outstanding and decisive detail to the shades, the elastic collar, and succeeded in turning the artistically pleated lampshades, into a business. The first Le Klint shop and showroom opened in Copenhagen, in the same year, and was named after his daughter Lise Le Charlotte Klint. She was the first manager of the shop (and according to herself, not allowed to design any of shades). The lamps were presented and sold in an inspiring surrounding, furnished with Kaare Klint originals and floral wall coverings, designed by Gunnar Billmann Petersen. This sophisticated décor, allowed the white pleated lampshades to illuminate to perfection.
Kaare Klint was a well-known and respected architect, accomplished craftsman and designer, and thus Le Klint benefited greatly from Kaare’s astonishing talent. Two of best-selling lights today, the Le Klint 306 from 1945 and The Lantern (Le Klint 101) from 1945, are both designed by Kaare Klint.
Jan Klint, son of Tage, took over management of the company, and inherited the rights to the famous hand pleated lampshades, in 1953. He was an innovation businessman, and kept on expanding the company. In 1972, Jan Klint set up a foundation to insure the future of the Le Klint company and its employees. The Klint Foundation has been the owner of Le Klint since.
The hand pleated shades are to this day produced in Denmark, folded and pleated by the famous Le Klint pleating ladies. It takes a year to learn the techniques, and two to three years to master all the models in the collection. The pleats are folded along embossed patterns and lines in the plastic material. An embossing machine developed by Le Klint, comprises of a brass roller, which embosses the patterns onto a roll of material. The embossed material is then cut into pieces, and the process of pleating begins. After pleating, the shades are sewn together with a single seam on the inside of the shade.
Many Danish and international contemporary architects and designers have collaborated with Le Klint in creating modern and stylish lamps and lampshades – folded and pleated by the pleating ladies.