Italian lighting design company Arteluce was established in 1939 by the young Venetian designer-entrepreneur Gino Sarfatti. Political upheaval at the time forced Sarfatti to abandon his aeronautical engineering degree in Genoa and move with his family to Milan. There, despite a lack of formal design training, Sarfatti embarked on a lighting career. Yet it is arguably because he was wholly self-taught that Sarfatti immersed himself in the full lifecycle of the design process, from conception to production, collaborating with artisans and architects to create stronger, lighter, and cheaper modernist lamps than Italy has seen before.
In 1973, Sarfatti sold his business to Flos and retired to Lake Como. Many Arteluce creations are still in production today, and several original models are housed permanently in important museums like MoMA in New York. Somewhat forgotten after merging with Flos, Sarfatti’s designs are experiencing a renaissance amongst vintage collectors following the first retrospective exhibition of his work at the Triennale Design Museum in Milan in 2012.
* Images courtesy of Flos