Best-known work: Ball family
Training: Electrical engineer
Benny Frandsen was born in Skanderborg and took a degree in electrical engineering, mainly because his mother thought he should do a degree. His dream was to design and manufacture lighting solutions. He started out small by designing lamps for a local club, after which he tried – and failed – to convince his boss at the time to give him permission to start manufacturing lamps.
In 1968, Benny Frandsen began to manufacture squared and geometrical lamps independently, but sales of the lamps never really took off. Benny Frandsen figured out that what the Danes really wanted were round lamps and for that reason, he designed his first round lamp, aptly named ”Ball”.
This lamp proved to be the starting point for Benny Frandsen’s career! Everyone wanted a Ball lamp because its sleek, magnetic design was well-suited for use around the house regardless of the style of décor. Ball went on to become a huge success and before long, the lamp was available in various versions other than just the original mounted lamp.
In 1972, Benny Frandsen moved the manufacturing of his lamps out of his home and into a factory in Skanderborg to better accommodate the huge demand for Ball. The company took off immediately and was acquired by the Frits Group in 1993, after which it joined forces with Lyskilde. Benny Frandsen continued running the company as its CEO. In 1996, he chose to buy back the company and change its name to Frandsen Lighting A/S.
After the turn of the millennium, Benny Frandsen realised that he had to move manufacturing to China in order to keep his costs down and Frandsen now has 5 factories in China with more than 5000 employees.
In 2005, Frandsen bought a small lighting company named Verpan, giving him the rights to manufacture the famous Globe lamp, designed by Verner Panton. Frandsen began to manufacture the Globe and the venture proved a huge success. Nowadays, Frandsen and Verpan own the rights to 80 of Verner Panton’s lamp designs.
In 2011, Frandsen went on to purchase the rights to some of Verner Panton’s furniture and carpet designs to then manufacture these.
Nowadays, the name of the company is Frandsen Group and it consists of 3 components: 1. Frandsen Lighting, of which Benny Frandsen is the main designer, supported by a group of young talent. 2. Verpan, of which his son, Peter, is the frontman. And 3. Frandsen Projects, which sees his daughter, Pernille, working with interior design projects for hotels, institutions, and shops.
2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the Ball lamp and for this reason, new models have been manufactured. Benny Frandsen has well and truly proved that good design and good business acumen never goes out of style.