Artemide was based in 1959 by Ernesto Gismondi, and the Milan-based mostly firm has collaborated with the world’s most gifted designers to create quite a few iconic fashionable designs, lots of which reside in the everlasting collections of museums round the world.
As luck would have it, only a few cities away in the similar decade, Michele De Lucchi was born in 1951 in Ferrara. He went on to review structure in Florence and through a interval of radical and experimental structure in Italy, he was a distinguished determine in actions like Cavart, Alchimia and Memphis.
The 2 icons of Italian design appeared destined to collaborate and it occurred in 1987, when De Lucchi designed the Tolomeo lamp for Artemide. The lamp is now out there in sizes from mini to mega, indoor and outside, and is arguably Artemide’s most iconic fixture.
Having a background in structure and industrial design, De Lucchi additionally favors a craftsman-like method, stating “I designed the Tolomeo in 1987. Perhaps I ought to say that I invented it, as in point of fact the idea for a new mechanism came before the lamp was created.”
De Lucchi has designed lamps and furnishings for iconic Italian and European design corporations, resembling Artemide, in addition to buildings and architectural initiatives round the world. His skilled work has at all times gone facet-by-facet with a private exploration of design, know-how and crafts. In 2000 he was appointed Officer of Italian Republic by President Ciampi, for companies to design and structure.
Right here is the story of the how the Tolomeo got here to fruition.
It All Began with a Desk Lamp
Launched in 1987 and designed for Artemide by Michele De Lucchi with Giancarlo Fassina, the Tolomeo was an instantaneous bestseller, consolidating a working relationship that continues to at the present time. Impressed by conventional balanced arm lamps like the well-known Naska Loris, his problem was to mix an iconic and “domestic” type with modern applied sciences and supplies, adapting it to all kinds of makes use of and settings. In the present day it’s a nicely-recognized image of the fashionable object, generally seen in homes, places of work and motels, on the desks of architects and on photographic and even movie units. The long-lasting desk lamp has been seen in movies and TV sequence on the desk of iconic characters like M in the James Bond Collection.
The primary desk model has multiplied over the years into an infinite vary of variations together with ground, suspension, and wall fashions in each indoor and outside collections. Winner of the Compasso d’Oro award in 1989, it shortly grew to become an icon of design and the aura surrounding it by no means appears to fade.
Impressed By Fishermen and Greek Astronomy
The Tolomeo lamp was born from a want to have a lamp De Lucchi personally designed on his desk that will work over his drafting board, the place he spent many hours a day. De Lucchi needed to have a quite simple design for the Tolomeo. The lamp is made with out screws and is held collectively by rigidity produced by the string inside. The identify Tolomeo (Ptolemy) appeared the best suited determine to characterize the lamp, as a result of he was an astronomer, a mathematician; in brief it was the identify finest suited to the concept of a scientific mentality.
“There was a very simple reason for the choice of a spring mechanism for the Tolomeo: I wanted to make a lamp that would work with incandescent bulbs and not just with halogen ones. The Tizio, designed by Artemide in 1972 by Richard Sapper, had no wire, whereas I had the problem of having to run a wire through it. I didn’t want the wire to be visible, but to be integrated into the lamp. Once there was a tube to conceal the wire, it could also conceal the spring, so I looked for a mechanism that would fit completely into this little tube. In reality the idea for the mechanism came from watching anglers fishing with a line. When an angler uses a fishing line he always has to support the tip of the rod. That is true, for example, of the trabucchi, those old fishing machines used mostly in Puglia in which the arms that support the net are held by a series of ropes. It seemed a clever idea to use a small lever arm and a length of wire to suspend a rod to which something could be attached. That was what I had in mind when I designed the Tolomeo.”
The Legacy of the Tolomeo Design
Michele De Lucchi and Artemide’s collaboration has continued from the first Tolomeo lamp in 1987 to in the present day, working with new applied sciences and design atmosphere to develop new merchandise.
Michele De Lucchi: “Tolomeo was a great success from the very first year, with the result that Artemide decided to invest a lot in the system of production. Today there is a whole factory devoted exclusively to the Tolomeo that turns out around half a million lamps a year.”
“I’d say that rather than a lamp Tolomeo is a formula, a philosophy of the product. One of the aspects that has guaranteed its success is that each of its components can be turned into a lamp in its own right; for example the head by itself, with a clamp or hung from the ceiling, becomes many other lamps. It was undoubtedly a big step when we designed heads in the form of lampshades made of paper or fabric. This version made it better suited to household use and adaptable to different settings. In general it’s a lamp that has a very pliable personality. It can be used in offices but also in homes, and this flexibility is one of the reasons for its popularity. It’s a product that fits perfectly well into both traditional and classic settings and innovative and unconventional ones. It is available in different forms, for the table, the floor, the ceiling, the wall. You can put it anywhere and you can move it easily.”
“In recent years lighting technology has undergone a radical modification. Not only has the light source been replaced, but the whole mode of its conception has changed. And this is precisely what makes it so surprising and almost miraculous that the Tolomeo has been able to adapt to these changes. Originally it was designed for the traditional incandescent bulb, but then we made numerous other versions, with halogen, gas discharge, energy-efficient bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs with long tubes, etc. As light sources emerged that seemed to have potential, we tried to adapt the head of the lamp to the new kind. The latest is undoubtedly the LED bulb, which produces highly concentrated and direct light, and it was not easy to find a diffuser that would distribute the light correctly. With LEDs the starting point for the design of a lamp is no longer the bulb, but the effect of the light in space.”
The Newest Tolomeo Assortment: Outside Lighting
The latest additions to the Tolomeo Assortment have been a full outside sequence together with each floor and suspension lamps. The bottom lamps characteristic the similar versatile arm and diffuser as the unique desk lamp, however on a march bigger scale and with a big, weatherproof diffuser. The Tolomeo Lantern sequence retains lots of the acquainted options of the unique, however with an up to date classic lantern as a diffuser.
The Tolomeo assortment incorporates a lamp for each design want: the basic desk lamp is available in a variety of colours and bases to work with any desk, both at dwelling or in the workplace. Flooring lamps can be found with a basic diffuser for a targeted studying gentle, or with a big parchment diffuser in a “mega” measurement, including modern model to any house. Wall spots can be found in addition to wall lamps with a versatile arm, excellent as a bedside lamp. Tolomeo Suspension fixtures include or with no parchment shade, in distinctive off-middle configurations. Regardless of the event, there’s a Tolomeo to fit your house.