In this edition I would like to tell you something about the design classic that is the Tolomeo lamp. It was designed by Michele De Lucchi and Giancarlo Fassina in 1986 for the Artemide company and is considered by many to be an icon of modern Italian design.
Technically it’s a real triumph of perseverance and engineering nouse. In its original form, it consists of a heavy base, two straight polished aluminium arm sections (each approximately 45 cm long), and a matte aluminium reflector head which can swivel 360º. Steel tension cables attached to springs hidden inside the arms complete the constant-tension structure. The lamp won the Compasso d’Oro design prize in 1989. (Golden Compass award; a highly coveted award which has only been awarded twenty times since its introduction in 1954).
Its clever balance of sleek design and functionality has endowed the Tolomeo with the ability to withstand the test of time and it is still popular today nearly three decades after it lit up the world with its first appearance. The Tolomeo lamp has been a standard feature in many design studios and architectural practices for years, more recently crossing over to other office environments as society becomes more design conscious.
The lamp comes in numerous variations and can be used in many ways – whether it be on a desk, bedside table, dressing or side table. It is also a favourite amongst stylists and it often appears in interior magazine photoshoots.
Considering the excesses of the decade of which it was introduced, the Tolomeo lamp was in effect a massive contrast to the garish designs of the era, for example the Memphis movement.
This in part is due to the collaboration with Artemide, a company that set out to re-invent lighting concepts. Their philosophy is focused on ‘the human light’ – an intention to illuminate a space and improve quality of life. Artemide’s world renowned centre of innovation uses the latest technology as well as specialist optics, electronics and resources to help it come up with its cutting edge designs. Each high quality item is developed from concept through to prototype and testing to the finished article.
Artemide have won many prestigious design awards such as the coveted Compasso d’Oro and the Red Dot Design Award and their products feature heavily in permanent collections of the V&A, MoMA and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Collaboration with designers is key to Artemide’s success and they have produced an array of products that are already deemed design classics. DeLucchi continues to work with Artemide on various projects as well as his own Produzione Privata range.
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The Artemide lamp is available in four versions: Standard, Mini, Micro and Mega as well as a floor lamp and ceiling fitting. As the lamp has become more popular, Artemide have acknowledged this by targeting a wider market and producing a range in colours that would brighten up any home or office space.
The Tolomeo lamp is available to buy at selected interior design shops such as www.design-conscious.co.uk
About Paolo Feroleto
Designer of the ItalyChronicles.com logo, Paolo Feroleto is a design hound who sniffs out all things design and writes about the best of what he tracks down here on ItalyChronicles.com.
A designer of Italian origins, Paolo has over 13 years industry experience obtained from working in mixed discipline design studios in the UK and abroad.
Paolo has worked with a range of clients – from small independent retailers, to large blue chip companies, both in the UK and Europe. His projects have included building corporate identity, designing literature, creating stands for exhibitions, as well as devising graphics for retail outlets and websites. Here are some examples from the interiors section of his portfolio: Four Design – Interiors
Paolo also teaches Graphic Design on a part-time basis and has developed creative workshops for use in education and professional environments.
Currently based in the UK, Paolo like to spend his time travelling as much as possible. You can reach Paolo though his company, Four Design.