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Valby Mid-Century Modern ceiling fan inspired by the 1950s

The Valby modern ceiling fan is inspired by Mid-Century design elements, from pendant lights to audio equipment. Designer Alex Haggar shares more about the inspiration behind this modern ceiling fan.

Casablanca Fan Company Designer for modern ceiling fans I wanted to create a ceiling fan that was truly Mid-Century inspired; something that would believable if it was dropped into a book about 1950s design.

But in the 1950s, ceiling fans were still very traditional. The idea of a modern ceiling fan wasn’t realized or made widely available until the 1980s. So, when designing this Mid-Century inspired ceiling fan, I asked myself, “What would a Danish modern ceiling fan ceiling fan look like? What would an American 1950s modern ceiling fan look like?”

I was very much inspired by pendant lighting form that era, and the shape of the blades is reminiscent of tapered legs on wooden furniture. Audio equipment from the 60s was also a huge inspiration, as that was another budding Mid-Century industry that was becoming design-focused at the time. The Valby ceiling fan takes elements from a lot of vintage products, but unites them to create something that feels current.

Every detail of Valby has a Mid-Century reference right down to the radial slots on top of the fan that serve as vents for the motor.

The finishes we chose for this fan are finishes that were prevalent in 1950s an 1960s design, but aren’t limited to Mid-Century inspired spaces. The Matte Black and Fresh White finishes are Mid-Century staples that will also work in almost any casual space. The Matte Nickel finish is a little bit more formal, and can be used in spaces with luxe details.

Alex Haggar is an Industrial Designer for Casablanca Fan Company. 

The Valby indoor ceiling fan has a 54-inch blade span, perfect for large spaces like bedrooms, living rooms and offices. It’s available in three finishes with reversible veneer blades that allows you to customize the look of your ceiling fan and space. 

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The Heathridge Story: Making a Masterpiece

No Casablanca ceiling fan better exemplifies the perfect synergy of innovation, artistry and craftsmanship than the Heathridge. Quite simply, it is a masterpiece among the exceptional. This is the story of how it came to be, from inception to completion.

Conceived by Christophe Badarello, Casablanca’s lead designer, the Heathridge began with an idea for fan housing that—initially, at least—seemed almost basic: a housing made of wood. Real wood that, according to Christophe, “would celebrate the rustic, but still be versatile enough to go with a range of decors.”

But the logistics of using real wood for a fan housing proved challenging indeed. Christophe ordered various types of wood. He cut and carved this way and that. He cross-sectioned large chunks and explored how a fan motor might fit inside them. And of course, he consulted with his design team, with Casablanca engineers and with people outside the world of ceiling fans. After a time, however, the jury was in: “A wood housing just wasn’t going to work,” said Christophe. But that didn’t mean giving up. When Casablanca designers have an artistic vision, they find a way to bring that idea to life.

The best way to imitate nature is not to copy it, but to use nature itself.

CHRISTOPHE BADARELLO
LEAD DESIGNER

The most important aspect of his vision was to create a particular look with the wood grain itself, so Christophe made certain decisions based around that objective. Inspired in part by the long-weathered condition of wooden fences—the kind you can still find out in the rural West—Christophe knew that such a look simply couldn’t be imitated by drawing it. “The best way to imitate nature is not to copy it,” said Christophe, “but to use nature itself.” He would have to carve the wood, create a weathered look somehow—and then make a cast of it.

The first step was to sculpt the wood into the shape of the housing. He did so by hand-turning it on a lathe, then wire-brushing the wood to create deeper grooves. The next step required true innovation: How to weather the wood in a way that replicated decades of exposure to sun, wind, ice and rain? The solution involved “opening” the grain, eroding the inherently softer aspects of the wood (as would occur in a natural weathering process) while retaining the harder elements to accentuate the grain’s peaks and valleys. He then used different finishes to make that contrast and depth even more pronounced. With the faux finish perfected, the wood housing could be cast and molded out of a more resilient composite.

Christophe’s vision for the Heathridge was far from complete, however. What about the blades? Here again, Christophe wanted to use solid wood—not a laminate overlay. He did just that, hand carving the planks and opening the grain as he had with the housing. The ultimate challenge, though, was figuring out how to make the housing match the blades. They were, after all, made of different materials. After months of experimentation with different finishes, Christophe was satisfied. And the Heathridge was born.

Today, the Heathridge speaks to people as it spoke to Christophe from the beginning. There is a quality you can feel in the weight of the carved blades alone, but there is something else. Perhaps it is the fan’s nod to a more pastoral past while stepping exultantly into the present. The look of seasoned wood that has endured the elements over time and, rather than being forgotten, has become cherished.

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8 New Designs. 1 World-Class Collection.

This unique conglomeration of designs is representative of an array of lifestyles, passions and attitudes.

These pieces are not just ceiling fans – they are centerpieces for any room in your home. Each has been handcrafted thoughtfully, carefully, meticulously. For the 2016 Casablanca Collection, our designers allowed their imaginations to run wild, gathering inspiration from places as far off as the constellations, or as nearby as an orchid in bloom. These fans were designed to serve as a focal point that inspires a room’s entire look and feel.

 

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Every etch and brush stroke, brimming with human touch, preserves the beautiful imperfections that maintain the authentic detail that went into the original design. We treasure the experience of bringing these designs to life –the initial burst of inspiration, the raw, unfiltered sketches, the vigorous engineering process – making the inside of these fans match the beauty of the outside, and finally, the immeasurable satisfaction that comes from looking at the final product for the very first time.

The 2016 Casablanca Collection is for the bold and the fearless. These ceiling fans can serve as the focal point that inspires a room’s entire look and feel, or they can be the final thought that ties everything together. Whatever the purpose, we are confident that you will find your perfect match for your home here, with Casablanca.

Discover the 2016 Casablanca Collection.

Casablanca Stingray modern ceiling fan sketch

An Ocean of Innovation: Creating the Stingray

With sleek and flowing aesthetics, Casablanca’s latest fan, the Stingray, seemingly captures a snapshot of aquatic motion.

It’s not hard to see where the inspiration came from. It might be harder to imagine designers at one point using duct tape, cardboard and a coffee can to construct such an elegant fan.

“It’s very crude, but it was a way to figure out how the blade went into the housing,” said Casablanca Designer Christine Holmes.

Designers and engingeers used this first 3D model of the Stingray to see how the electronics would fit.

It’s all part of the creative process. Holmes shared the Stingray began as a simple elevated sketch before evolving into a rough model and a clay model. She shared creating a fan, especially one as unique as the Stingray, can be a lengthy but collaborative effort.

“We’re riffing off of each other, we’re talking to each other, we’re putting things down and someone’s picking it up,” she said, “There’s some designs even as a group they’re easier than others; there was a lot of work to make this vision happen.”
A 3D model was later printed for the Stingray design. This allowed the designers and Casablanca’s engineers to take apart the pieces to see where the insides – the motor, LED light and fan blades — could fit. This meant some changes to the initial Stingray design’s leaner housing.

“The question was what happened inside there,” said Holmes, “When you do something that extreme and exotic, there’s a lot more configuration that goes into it.”

Compared to the initial sketch, the Stingray’s housing evolved into something larger following these design meetings. However, throughout the process designers and engineers made sure the clean, sleek design concept kept constant.

There are no visible screws or fasteners; the absence of color also helps emphasize the Stingray’s elegance and simplicity. It’s an uncompromising fan perfect for formal and contemporary spaces.

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Duluth engineers effortless industrial and modern design

Mechanical yet modern, Casablanca’s Duluth ceiling fan draws inspiration from an era of factories, locomotives and the original automobile.

This industrial ceiling fan features prominent vintage-inspired rivets that secure the motor to the switch housing cap reminiscent of more modern machinery.

“This fan draws some inspiration from airplanes with the exposed rivets, a lot of times on wings you see exposed screws,” said  Casablanca Designer Alex Haggar, “The bottom of the fan – that cap – is very reminiscent of an engine turbine so in a way that plays into the industrial side but still has a vintage feel.”

Accentuating the industrial details is an unexpected finish for a ceiling fan: galvanized steel.

“Galvanized is typically used as a functional, protective thing,” said Haggar, “Galvanized is typically used on outdoor applications but I think in this case it works as a compliment to the very industrial design.”
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Keeping the industrial feel but adding a more modern, sleek look, the outdoor version of the Duluth is finished in a fresh white galvanized steel.

“The cool thing about Duluth is it’s a bit of a chameleon because it could fit with a very modern loft but also fit in a more rustic outdoor space. It’s a bit of style chameleon,” said Haggar.

The Duluth is a low maintenance addition to room design, even fitting in spaces with minimal furniture. The fresh white finish is ideal for contemporary spaces while the galvanized steel finish is an effortless addition to an industrial inspired space.

Add the Duluth to your inspired space by finding it at your nearest showroom

For industrial design, the key is utilizing natural elements in the space – exposed beams and brick, for example – and adding vintage details like an antique spotlight and worn textiles similar to the room the Duluth is featured in.
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“With vintage industrial it can be overdone,” said Haggar, “It works best when vintage industrial pieces are being used as an accent as opposed to every single piece in the room being vintage industrial.”

We put the galvanized steel Duluth in a room with furniture featuring modern furniture but with a worn-in look. The damp rated fresh white Duluth, however, designers placed in a room with furniture and textiles that play to the contrasting finishes on the contemporary fan.

“The white and black of the fan fits with the contrast you’re seeing with the dark stone paired with these bright white couches and chairs,” said Haggar, “In this instance the galvanized might feel a little out of place. Here the more clean black and white color option plays to a more modern space. “

The Duluth in galvanized steel and fresh white finishes are both available to purchase in a 60 inch size or a 72 inch size, making it the perfect centerpiece for your great rooms and patios.