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  • Literature

    Flaminio Gualdoni, Ico Parisi & architecture, exh. cat., Galleria Civica, Bologna, 1990, p. 225

  • Catalogue Essay

    This lot has been recorded in the Archivio del Design di Ico Parisi, Via Diaz 11 – 22100 Como, Italy.

    Phillips wishes to thank Roberta Lietti of the Archivio del Design di Ico Parisi for her assistance with cataloguing the present lot.

    Il Razionalismo Illuminato
    Property from a Private Italian Collection, Part I

    Rising above the devastation of World War II, in the post-war years Italian design reached new heights of productivity and ingenuity, particularly in the realm of lighting. Undaunted by obstacles, the shortage of raw materials and machinery fueled the creativity of designers such as Angelo Lelii, Ico Parisi, and Franco Buzzi. Wartime research had also contributed to new materials and production techniques, all of which the designers embraced, creating radical new forms that would have been impossible before. Traditional materials such as marble still appeared, but there was no hierarchy between the old and the new.

    Triennale exhibitions held in Milan in 1951, 1954, 1957, and thereafter spurred inventiveness, development, and national pride. Awards such as the Compasso d’Oro (initially sponsored by the Milanese department store La Rinascente and later by the Associazione per il Disegno Industriale) inspired competition and originality, whilst Italian publications such as Domus and Stile further bolstered and disseminated designers’ efforts.

    Among the most important factors in the success of Italian post-war lighting design, however, was the tradition of small-scale, family-owned craft shops and companies, which fostered close relationships between designers, manufacturers, and artisans. The intimacy of this arrangement afforded companies such as Arredoluce, O-Luce, and Azucena the freedom to experiment and take risks where the costs and constraints of large-scale production would have limited this elsewhere. Shops often manufactured their own moulds and tools, which led to novel forms and original designs. The eclectic, expressive nature of Italian lighting owes its success in part to these special circumstances. As the architect Giancarlo De Carlo wrote, “elements of this taste grew out of a training and a vocation with its roots in the Milanese tradition, or rather one thread in the intricate Milanese tradition: the neo-classical society, from which the craftsmen drew their sense of measure, of formal restraint, their careful workmanship, and on the other hand the equilibrium and serenity that made them at peace with the world.”

    The present grouping of lamps is united by a sense of poetic simplicity. In many cases, the structure of the lamp has been stripped down to its most basic elements, yet strikes a harmonic chord. Ignazio Gardella’s ‘Arenzano’ lamp (lot 115) is surmounted by a simple brass circle, elegantly echoing its round marble base like ripples in water. Gio Ponti’s ‘Billia’ lamp (lot 121) goes so far as to reduce the design to two simple shapes, a sphere and a cone. With shades that tilt and arms that adjust, the lamps are unobtrusive and functionalist yet quietly solicit interaction and praise.

    Part II of this Private Italian collection will be offered at auction by Phillips in New York, June 2016, comprising lighting by Gino Sarfatti and Arteluce.

Property from a Private Italian Collection

210

'Iride' standard lamp

1970
Painted aluminium, painted metal, aluminium.
181 cm (71 1/4 in.) high
Manufactured by Lamperti, Robbiate, Italy. Underside of light switch with manufacturer's plastic label Lamperti/Robbiate (Como).

Estimate
£4,000 - 6,000 

Sold for £7,750

Contact Specialist
Madalena Horta e Costa
Head of Sale
+44 20 7318 4019

Design Day Sale

London Auction 28 April 2016