1990: LINGOT TO
Renzo Piano’s architecture is marked by an
industrialised aesthetic that he applies as much to
his lighting designs in collaboration with iGuzzini
as to his inventive buildings. Developed at the time
of his conversion of the Fiat factory at Lingotto
in Turin, Piano’s Lingotto wall light in its die-cast
aluminium casing projects a powerful flood of light
and embodies a mix of industrial sturdiness and
In this radical technical and aesthetic
breakthrough, gifted German designer
Ingo Maurer made use of newly available
low-voltage halogen light sources to
suspend a cable system across the ceiling
in a variety of dramatic configurations.
Evoking memories of a circus high-wire act,
this original idea has been widely imitated,
but never bettered.
The Semi lamp was designed in 1968 by two Danish
architecture students, Claus Bonderup and Torsten
Thorup, using two quarter-circles placed back to
back. Its clean lines and geometric shape earned
it instant success – and first prize from the Royal
Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture.
It appears to complement all eras and interiors; in
the 1980s it became Denmark’s best-selling design.
Perhaps the most famous
ready-made piece in the
industry, Achille and Pier
Giacomo Castiglioni’s use of
an upturned car headlight as
an uplighter helped cement
the brothers’ reputation
for innovation. All the
components including the
transformer and cable are
exposed, in line with the
of allowing the original
functionally oriented elements
to take precedence over any
obvious traces of design.
To many designers, the Daphine table lamp is the
ultimate in unadorned form-following function.
Indeed, there’s nothing superfluous to Tommaso
Cimini’s sparse design. A transformer, a metal
elbow and a capsule lamp in a reflector: it’s the
Tizio without the fuss. Cimini – who learned his
trade at Artemide – used the Daphine to launch his
company, Lumina. Today it’s a bestseller.