The company Kalmar was founded in Vienna around 1880 by Julius August Kalmar and specialized in custom-made objects of hand cast bronze. Kalmar worked with leading architects to create chandeliers all over Europe and the United States.
Kalmar’s son, Julius Theodor, studied at the Vienna School of Applied Arts, where he was taught by the acclaimed Austrian architect and designer Josef Hoffmann and also attended the Birmingham School of Art & Design. He led the company into the next century and gave it its own specific style, inspired by the Arts & Crafts Movement, away from the eclectic style of the late 19th century. He reduced lighting to its essense: illuminating living spaces without glare. During the 60's and 70's he became increasingly involved in the production of the lamps and communicated personally with the architects. Therefore the company became associated with high quality modern design, producing light fittings for prominent Austrian architects and designers like Frank & Wlach, Oswald Haerdtl, Oskar Strnad, Clemens Holzmeister, Ernst Plischke, and many others.
More recently Kalmar has produced major lighting installations for government buildings and palaces, museums, theatres, hotels and cruise ships. The company worked for the Presidential Palace of the Kremlin, the State Tretjakov Gallery in Moscow, the new Shanghai Grand Theater and hotels like the Ritz Carlton in Berlin.