This year marks the centenary of the birth of Vico Magistretti, one of the most important architects and designers in the history of Italian design.
Vico Magistretti, in his career, has won the Compasso D’Oro three times: the first in 1967 with the Eclisse lamp by Artemide, the second in 1979 with the Maralunga sofa by Cassina and the third, in the same year, for the Oluce Atollo lamp.
And it is precisely about these two lamps that I want to talk today. Two table lamps that have become timeless design icons, known by everyone and exhibited in museums such as the Moma in New York and the Triennale in Milan.
In these two lamps the formal simplicity and the essential but harmonious composition typical of Vico Magistretti’s projects is evident. “Drawing for me is expressing the soul, the essence of the object”
In the projects of Eclisse and Atollo, Magistretti has shown great skill in obtaining essential compositions through the combination of different geometric shapes. He once said, “I love geometric shapes. I love creating essential shapes ”
Produced by Artemide and designed in 1965, this small table lamp is a composition of pure geometric solids: two spheres of different diameters, a smaller internal one that rotates to hide the light source, and a hemisphere that makes up the base .
For the project, Vico Magistretti has always declared that he was inspired by the operation of the blind lanterns of the miners. But its name and its functioning recall, more poetically, the astronomical phenomenon. The project clearly draws on the collective imagination of the time: it was the years of the race to the moon and the SPACE AGE that greatly influenced design, music, cinema and even fashion.
The lamp is part of the permanent collection of the Triennale Design Museum in Milan and it is exhibited at the Moma in New York.
The Atollo table lamp has become a true design iconby reinterpreting the historic abat-jour with modern materials and geometric shapes.
With this lamp, produced by Oluce and part of the Permanent Collection of Italian Design 1945-1990 at the Milan Triennale, Vico Magistretti has transformed a functional object into an abstract sculpture with perfect proportions.
As for Eclisse, also for Atollo Vico Magistretti has created an object with a composition of pure solids: a cylinder, a cone and a sphere.
The cylindrical support and the spherical upper part are connected by such a thin element that when the lamp is on, the upper cap appears almost suspended in midair. The diffuser projects light into the upper conical segment of the base.
Magistretti has reached the extreme synthesis, designing with Atollo a lamp to which nothing can be added and nothing can be removed.
Since January 2020, on the occasion of the centenary of the designer’s birth, the Vico Magistretti Foundation has put the digital archive online giving the opportunity to consult 30 thousand sketches and technical drawings, 7 thousand photos and 3 thousand documents, in addition to the entire collection of models and prototypes.
Simplicity is the most difficult thing in the world (Vico Magistretti)