Gino Sarfatti “Moon”
Gae Aulenti “Rimorchiadore”
Gino Sarfatti “N°1063″
Ettore Sottsass “Asteroid”
Michel Buffet floor lamp
If there is a domain in which Italian design shines — likewise for Scandinavians — it is light. Only the birthplace of Renaissance could renew and enhance this accessory, indispensable to man for the pursuit of activities whatever the time, with such creative freedom in the post-war years. From this creative profusion, Galerie BSL unveils its pantheon of 1950s to 1980s lighting, a vintage selection rigorously guided by quality and rarity. This new gallery — which opened only a year ago but which has already exhibited at the prestigious Pavillon des Arts et du Design and will do so at Design Miami/Basel — has chosen to only show twenty handpicked pieces. A welcome commitment to help collectors, at a time when everything is ‘design,’ in a market where the best and worst are displayed side by side.
Can be found: duly referenced, often award-winning, always admired lighting icons. Pieces which are above all a metamorphosis of an everyday object into a contemporary sculpture, amazing in their strength and unique character. For many specialists, Gino Sarfatti, creator of hundreds of models, is the 20th century’s greatest lighting designer. “I have never been interested in form,” he confesses, defining himself as an artisan. Everything starts with the bulb for this great chrome stand enthusiast who invented a lamp kit to change as you wish into nine different types of lighting, wall light, reflector, etc.
Credit where credit is due, Gino Sarfatti occupies a core place in this exhibition. The most spectacular piece and the most important: the large N°2068 ceiling light designed in 1952. With its thirty lights, it conjures up a modern castle, a church candelabra or the crown of candles worn by young girls in the procession during the Festival of Light in Nordic countries. Everything is sober, meticulous, but also ethereal with Sarfatti, who chooses to leave the wire apparent “because you have to be able to look at the reason for the lamp.”* Amongst others is the extremely rare wall light N°194 (1950) in brass and lacquered metal, the audacious lamp N°1063 which totally changed the idea of domestic lighting (Compasso d’Oro in 1954, prestigious Italian design award), the table lamp N°604 called Moon (1969), with a scattering of micro-bulbs like lunar craters.
For at the era of the conquest of space, tomorrow’s light comes from outer space, following the example of the Asteroide (1968) table lamp, a very ‘pop’ creation by Ettore Sottsass, leader of the Memphis neo- baroque movement. Made of perspex, it reflects peninsula designers’ taste for new materials adaptable to the craziest shapes. The Golden Gate by Nanda Vigo features amongst the exhibition’s centrepieces, extensive refined architecture spanning two metres which won its designer, influenced by the silhouette of the eponymous bridge, the New York Prize for Industrial Design in 1971, or Rimorchiatore by Gae Aulenti (1969), an example of which appears in the Centre Pompidou collection. Also featuring are creations by the Italians Angelo Lelli – the Calder of lighting -, Studio A.R.D.I.T.I., Matteo Thun and Joe Colombo (honoured by a retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 2007).
Without forgetting, for comparison, works by Français Michel Buffet in the vein of Serge Mouille and the German master Ingo Maurer. Finally to complete this vintage selection the Escargot (snail) lamp, created by Le Corbusier in 1954 for the Cité Radieuse in Marseille, produced for the first time in 2011 by Cassina with a limited edition of 150 numbered pieces. In short, a historical and didactic journey displaying all that today’s creators owe these exemplary light designs.
– Alexandre Crochet, journalist, art historian.
Italian Lights, May 20 – July 23, at Galerie BSL
100% Suspended, and 100% Table Lamp, by Ross Lovegrove, for Danese
During this year’s Salone, an exhibition of three designs by three designers including Mathieu Lehanneur and nendo under the art direction of designer Fabio Novembre showcased the artistry of venerable Czech Bohemian glass maker Lasvit’s glassblowers.
We were assigned the abstract theme ‘cocoon’, and asked to create work that would directly convey the quixotic appeal of glass as something that is impractical and incomplete, but provides a breath of fresh air, opening up new possibilities.We decided to take the brief in a playful direction, and to suggest both breathing and the incomplete by displaying the metal pipes used by glassblowers, still attached to the glass objects that they were used to make. By turning the pipes into flowers and branches and the glass into a vase, we literally turned convention on its head, making flowers blooming in vases into vases blooming from flowers to represent the flower bulbs that draw nutrients from plants through photosynthesis and store new life.
Growing Vases, by nendo, for Lasvit
Axis Lamp is an elegant floor lamp, which impresses with its high simplicity of operation. It consists of two axes made of square hollow sections held together and fixed by a screw and a counter nut. By loosening of the clamping, the arm of the lamp can be turned, shifted, and fixed at a variable level. So each position is accessible without any major mechanical efforts. Vertically positioned in front of a wall, the lamp generates warm atmospheric lighting. At the same time, it only takes up insignificant room and is easily transportable.
Axis Lamp, by bao-nghi droste design
The idea to this lamp has been to go ”back to basic” and work with simple geometric shapes – a half circle. The half circle looks simplified from the side but looking at the lampshade from the front it has a double curved shape, bending over the frame. The lamp shade is made of bent sheet metal with a matte rubber finish.
Inspired by the coloured tiles of Marrakech, Benjamin Hubert has designed a pendant lamp in which flexible silicone tiles are hung on a metal frame. “The consumer can build their own lamp from a framework and selection of different coloured tiles, allowing for customisation as the end user becomes part of the design process.”
The product focuses on the flowing relationship between adjustable elements whilst retaining a utilitarian architectural quality. The high brightness led light source and capacitive touch control is contrasted with a tactile range of material to soften the technology and create a more human range of products.
Available in either ash timber or texture lacquered aluminum with the paddle head formed from pressed aluminum.
Combining materials in a new innovative way, the Israeli designer Omri Barzeev created the Lady Led desk lamp. This lamp uses three strong but small Leds. The Leds are inserted in a heat shrinking plastic tube, a feature that allows to hold the Leds without any screws. The copper body of the lamp gives it an elegant and clean look. The two legs of the lamp are made of wood: they can move up or down the body of the lamp, in order to adapt the lighting angle or to play with the lamp appearance.
Zaza means “wobbling” in Hebrew. The originality of Zaza is to play with the usual ideas one has of a “normal” chair: the flexibility of the polypropylene structure takes the user by surprise and help to create a new relationship between the chair and the person sitting on it. This feeling is reinforced by the playful shape of the base, looking like a narrow rocking horse, only to deceive us again by it surprising stability.
Lady Led desk lamp, Zaza Chair, by Omri Barzeev
Molecules, Designed by Ofir Zucker & Albi Serfaty, collaboration with origami artist Ilan Garibi, Tokonoma, Designed by Albi Serfaty & Eitan Ben Tovim, for Aqua Creations
With an uncanny resemblance to NASA’s Mercury capsule, this hanging pendant lamp is clean and crisp. The fine chintz fabric on the shade adds a remarkable sheen. The colours pop, making a dramatic touch to open and spacious interiors.
Andy Pendant Lamp (Big Andy) by FrauMaier.