1951
The cradle of the company

The public bath was an industrial building in Lucerne, situated on a small island on the river Reuss and accessible from the middle of the bridge Spreuerbrücke. During the 20th century special iron for export was cast on this site. The ovens heated the baths, which were used by city dwellers who did not have an installed bathroom in their apartments.

From 1951 one half of this public bath was used as studios and workshops by artists and artisans. Rico Baltensweiler and Rosmarie Schwarz set up their workshop and apartment in the rear of the building. Rico (1920-1987) worked as an electrical engineer for the Swiss Federal Railways and Rosmarie (born in 1927) as an interior architect and assistant for Max Bill in Zurich.

This public bath was the cradle for the first luminaires of R+R Baltensweiler, from which later the 'Kollektion Baltensweiler' was created.

1952
Type 600 model 51

The Type 600 Modell 51 luminaire, created one year before for the private use, is widely applauded by architect friends. The first series of ten pieces is produced.

1956
Manufactory in a chalet

Workshop and living space must be separated; on one hand the couple got children, on the other the luminaire series were getting bigger. Two small children, later four, needed to live in a save space.

The newly bought chalet in Ebikon, a suburb of Lucerne, is adapted to the new needs. A workshop is created in the cellar, run by Rosmarie and two employees and headed by Rico in his spare time. A studio is installed in the attics and in between is the family's apartment.

1959
Luminaire series for Knoll International

A new luminaire series is developed under contract to the furniture store 'Knoll International'. Nine similar luminaire forms with different lighting effects are possible, because of three different light sources; one spot, one tubular and one incandescent lamp. Luminaire head and rod are detachable, so the minimal pack sizes for export are achieved.

1962
Pentarkus luminaire wins Globus competition

The Swiss premium department store Globus tries with a competition to bring 'die gute Form' to the public. The work lamp 'Pentarkus' wins the race and is the best-selling luminaire at Globus for some years.

More an idealistic success than a commercial one, the small company with its eight employees suffers from capacity and financial problems, due to a small profit margin.

1965
First representative lightning planning

The small company in Ebikon is entrusted with many lighting planning projects for public buildings in Switzerland and abroad. This projects involve working with the respective architects and does not always cover its costs.

However this projects would be paid off by identifying and addressing market gaps. At the same time it was a training for the design; bringing new ideas, which were included in luminaire series.

Examples: The station buffet at the old main station in Lucerne, the auditorium of the Leer-Foundation in Jerusalem, the theatre and the 'Kunsthaus' in Lucerne (picture), the theater in Zurich.

1972
Pioneering with Halo 250

The new halogen headlights with low voltage, which were produced for the car industry, drove the lighting market forward. The halogen bulbs also change the design of the home lighting.

As the first Swiss manufacturers, Rico and Rosmarie Baltensweiler choose the high voltage halogen for the new luminaire development. Soon this decision proves to be absolutely right. The bright Halo 250 secures herself very fast a place in the homes and offices.

1974
Former vermicelles workshop becomes the new site

Success and prosperity make Rico's undivided commitment necessary. After the purchase of the neighbouring house, the existing workshop of the former owner is extended.

In 1974 follows gradually a new building phase; a former vermicelles workshop is extended with an annex and the attic is converted into a spacious studio. Not only the family but also a part of the staff were involved in the remodelling of the site.

1984
Fluorescent lamps become acceptable due to the Manhattan

Fluorescent lamps did not have any significance in the living area for decades for quite good reasons.

In 1984 the fluorescent lamps gained some of the limelight; compact tubes, large light yield, long life span, increased colour reproduction and flicker-free light combined with electronic ballasts made this type of lamp acceptable. The hot bulb was for the designers quite a challenge.

The Manhattan was the first fluorescent lamp with an electronic ballast for the living area. The new idea of using a perforated steel plate as a reflector was new and creates new lighting types and concepts.

1985
Rico Baltensweiler receives the Lucerne art award

An excerpt from Rico's acceptance speech:

The 'designer' exists literally speaking already since the beginnings of the silk industry. The designer produced every year new 'DESSINS', detected and took into account new trends. With time the objects of our everyday life were industrially manufactured and the broader concept of "industrial designer" emerged in the course of this specialisation. Its products had to meet the requirements of material, rational production method, function and formal looks. In the sixties and seventies the world seemed to be in best order and the so called 'gute Form' was fashionable. The industry took and developed its ideas and rapidly it became very uniform. Architects, urbanists and designers reflected on the stimulating diversity of a growing neighbourhood and the value of the useless. The escape to the rustic is present to all of us.

1987
A thinker in lighting, an ascetic in design

Last Tuesday died the luminare designer and lighting specialist Rico Baltensweiler in his home in Ebikon at the age of 66 years. Born in Zürich, Rico Baltensweiler designed and produced luminaires, which already are classics because of their functionality and aesthetics, for over thirty years in Ebikon, a suburb of Lucerne. The architect Werner Hunziker, a family friend, appreciates the work and personality of the deceased. 'Lucerne loses one of the most remarkable artistic personalities with Rico Baltensweiler's unexpected death. He was a luminaire designer, a lighting specialist, a thinker in lighting and thereby a natural scientist, always consequently looking for a holistic philosophy - that's how he still lives in people's memory. Also as an ascetic in life and design, shaped by simplicity and reluctance... Rico Baltensweiler was a bold questioner, always looking more into the inside than the outside, always trying to understand social processes.'
Excerpts from the eulogy:

Rico was a natural phenomenon, to capture his facettes is quite impossible.

1990
Baltensweiler in the museum of design Zurich

The Museum of design in Zurich include the luminaires Type 600, Type 60, Aladin, Wesir, Kalif and Halo in their collection.

1996
Cristal-clear new construction

The company building bursts at the seams in the mid-1990. Both chalets, where the manufactories are, reached their limits and a connecting construction between the two buildings is planned. The purchase of the adjoining property is made possible because of the success of the luminaires Halo and Aladin. A fire on the newly acquired property forces the immediate realisation of the plans of the architect Oliver Schwarz. The organisation of the equipment and building services is carried out by Rosmarie, Karin and Gabriel.

Newly acquired and old machines must find their places in the new crystal-clear building. The transparent structures of the building create a new working atmosphere.

2000
1st participation at the Light & Building

Baltensweiler unveils new luminaires at the world's biggest fair for lighting and luminaires.

2001
50th jubilee of Baltensweiler

The 50th jubilee is commemorated with a three-day event and customers, suppliers, friends and relatives are invited. The table luminaires PINA and PINO are presented for the first time at this event.

2003
Go-ahead LED with ZETT

In 2003 Baltensweiler started with the ZETT manufacturing LED luminaires, which were unknown for the living space.

2005
TOPOLINO family

Our coworker and designer Lukas Niederberger creates from elemets of the PENDOLINO the new floor luminaire TOPOLINO. The simple and clear design of the TOPOLINO, which is infinitely adjustable in height, convinces. TOPOLINO WUP/WAP and TOPOLINO T complete the luminaire family.

2007
LET familiy

The success of the ZETT and the becoming increasingly efficient LED motivate and reinforce the idea of concentrating on LED. A new LED family is started with the LET.

2009
LET D

The luminaire family LET is created by and by and it consists of table, floor and pendant luminaires. The low voltage makes it possible to try with new elements such as the live ball joint, the telescope and the magnetic contact.

2010
PINA LED familiy

The PINA LED helps refining the lamp source LED. The four LED with 10 Watt corresponds to a power consumption of a conventional halogen lamp of 60 Watt.

2011
60th jubilee

On the first of October we celebrated the 60th jubilee with a paddle steamer trip on the Lake Lucerne and a dinner at the Schweizerhof Hotel. A specially produced anniversary film and the re-edition of the Type 600 were a homage to Edison light bulb and the Type 600 Mod. 51, which jubilate the same day.

2013
LYS – Patumbah

The LED floor luminaire LYS Patumbah is specially created for the Villa Patumbah in Zurich, the seat of the Swiss Heritage Museum.

2014
Umzug nach Luzern

Wieder einmal platzt der Betrieb aus allen Nähten. Der Erfolg von LET D, OyO und TOPOLINO führt zum umsatzstärksten Jahr.
Neu angeschaffte CNC- und alte Maschinen müssen ihren Platz finden. Wir finden eine geeignete Liegenschaft im Industriequartier Littauerboden in Luzern. Mit unseren Mitarbeitern bauen wir die Räumlichkeiten nach unseren Bedrüfnissen um. Schweren Herzens ziehen wir im 2014 zuerst mit Montage und Administration und im 2015 mit der Werkstatt um.