Italian vintage design lamps from 1929 to 1969. Here you can see some of the most iconic and acclaimed design lamps from Italian designers over a period of 40 years.
Well-known Italian designers such as Gino Sarfatti, Gio Ponti, Vico Magistretti were pioneers both before and after World War II in Italian design and not only created lamps but also made furniture, designed buildings and founded several large Italian lamp brands that exist to this day.
1929 – Luminator by Luciano Baldessari
Originally designed as a mannequin for textiles for an exhibition in Barcelona in 1929. Luminator was later converted into a lamp for a private buyer, further developed and sold on the market in 1933. The lamp was hypermodern for its time with stainless steel in combination with art-deco contrasting colors.
1932 – Bilia from Fontana Arte
Italian Gio Ponti was an eclectic Italian designer who was gifted in everything from architecture to graphics, industrial design and art. Ponti was the editor before Domus magazine and in 1932 he founded Fontana Arte. His iconic design lamp Bilia is still very popular today.
1940 – Model 2003 for Arteluce
“Model 2003” was one of the first chandeliers that Gino Sarfatti designed for Arteluce and was the starting shot for what became a completely new genre of chandeliers, namely “sputnik” designed. Model 2003 is no longer in production, but if you are lucky you can find such a lamp at auctions where these are usually sold for several hundred thousand kroner.
1951 – 548 for Arteluce (Now Astep)
Gino Sarfatti was an influential Italian designer who created over 400 lamps over 30 years. His career began when he started the design house Arteluce in 1939.
His 548 table lamp is still a very popular lamp that uses indirect lighting to provide a comfortable light wrapped in a fantastic design. 548 the inheritance is now taken care of by the company Astep and Alessandrov Sarfatti, the grandson of Gino Sarfatti.
1954 – Glass Table Lamp by Max Ingrand
For Italian Fontana Arte, the French glazier and decorator Max Ingrand created this timeless and beautiful table lamp almost exclusively by using white glass.
1955 – Stilnovo Chandelier
After World War II, there was a wave of Italian designers experimenting with new, and now iconic designs. Among others Corrado Aroldi, Gaetano Sciolari, Alberto Fraser, Joe Colombo, Ettore Sottsass and Gaetano Scolari.
Gaetano Scolari’s chandelier has become a landmark in Stilnovo’s design history with its molecular and geometric shape that included new material combinations such as opal glass and brass.
1958 – 2097 Chandelier for Flos
Another iconic design chandelier from Italian Gino Sarfatti. Sarfatti created 2097 in 1958 and is as dramatic and modern today as it was over 50 years ago. This exciting design has been relaunched in several new colors, including black, chrome and glossy brass.
1960 – 237 – Astep
With its mouth-blown opal glass ball, the Model 237 is an iconic wall lamp and bestseller for Astep. Designed in 1960 by Gino Sarfatti, the Model 237 is a blend of mid-modern and futurism.
Due to its popularity, Astep has further developed the design series to include several variants of the wall lamp, but also chandeliers.
1960 – Gatto for Flos
Designed in the cocoon shape that the Castiglioni brothers were known for. Gatto or ” little cat ” consists of a steel structure with a white-powdered coating. The result is a soft and diffusely lit lamp that is reminiscent of a hot air balloon, or perhaps a circus tent. In any case, Gatto is an iconic table lamp that is well suited as a decorative light.
1962 – Taccia of Flos
Taccia is an iconic lamp in Italian design and was shaped with the idea of creating a lamp where simplicity and indirect light were in focus but ended up with a rather convoluted start that was anything but simple.
Taccia was originally designed by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni in 1958. The original idea of using plastic in the screen caused problems with the heat development from the bulb in the lamp. In 1962, Flos, therefore, takes over the design and uses glass and aluminium that can withstand the heat.
From 2010 and with the advent of modern LED solutions, however, Flos again began to experiment with plastic screens that were true to the original design idea, and the new lamp from PMMA was ready in 2016 – and was now in line with what the Castiglioni brothers envisioned in 1958
1963 – E63 from Bieffeplast and Fontana Arte
Designed by Umberto Riva in 1963. After studying in Venice under Carlo Scarpa ( an Italian architect and professor of architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice ), Umberta Riva became an influential designer in Italy known for her great attention to detail. E63 was the result of a design competition which in 1969 was put into production by Fontana Arte and Bieffeplast, but is today being further developed by Tacchini.
1964 – Nesso from Artemide
Nesso was a product of its time where the futurism of the ’60s and new hypermodern materials were used to create fantastic design lamps. Originally constructed of fibreglass, but was later changed to so-called “unbreakable” hammer glass. Nesso has a nice and soft curved shape that lights up when the bulb is turned on.
1965 – Eclisse for Artemide
Eclisse was designed by Vico Magistretti and has a rotatable inner screen that would mimic how the moon moves across the night sky. The reflector can be turned completely open to give a strong, direct light. Or it can be twisted again to get a beautiful glowing light.
1967 – Coupé from Oluce
Coupé is a permanent part of the exhibition at MoMA in New York and the “Neue Sammlung” Museum in Munich. Inspired by modernism, the Coupé is a timeless design lamp that shows how form and function can play on teams.
Designed by Joe Colombo, the Coupé won the 1968 International Design Award from the American Institute of Interior Design.
The history of Italian design is exciting and has many chapters. More articles on how Italian lamp and lighting design developed further from the mid-60s, through the 70s / 80s, and until today will soon come.
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