Lamps and the history of design

Lighting to create magical atmospheres

The designer lamp has a story to tell, an allure comparable to a sculpture, an artistic creation. Iconic, surprising, thrilling, designer lamps light up our lives in style. They’ve brought inspiration and innovation, and above all, they’ve left their mark, becoming a part of the collective imagination. Designer lamps have always had a fundamental role to play in the living environment, with their ability to radically transform the perception of spaces thanks to their shapes and light sources. Timeless pieces, immune to shifts in fashion and social changes, they are creations that spring from the genius of some of the world’s most famous designers, such as Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, Vico Magistretti, Gio Ponti, Gae Aulenti, Alberto Meda, Pio Manzù, Paolo Rizzatto and Ingo Maurer. Here are a few unforgettable examples in the history of lighting and design.

The colour of Nesso comes from the Sixties

The Nesso lamp is the perfect embodiment of Sixties Italian style in its use of colour: at the time, bright orange and white were the predominant colours of all plastic objects. The Nesso, in injection-printed translucent plastic, is a very simple design: compact, with pure, essential shapes, perfectly suitable for all kinds of interiors, which explains why it’s still in production over 40 years after it was designed.

The iconic Pipistrello

Devised by Gae Aulenti in 1965, the Pipistrello lamp by Martinelli Luce is a history-making, height-adjustable table lamp. Impressive in terms both of function and of style, its hallmark feature is a telescopic steel bar that can be used to regulate the height. It owes its name to the particular shape of the opal white methacrylate diffuser, which fans out rather like the wings of a bat, pipistrello in Italian.

An atoll of light

Another great classic is Atollo by Oluce, one of the most famous lamps designed by Vico Magistretti, in 1977, and winner of the ADI Compasso d’Oro award two years later. The secret of its perfection lies in the meeting of three simple geometric shapes. This delightfully simple design has earned the lamp a place in both museum collections and the homes of many people, and has given in a key role in numerous stories.

Tolomeo lamp: simple yet sophisticated style

Tolomeo, produced by Artemide since 1986, derived from a desire to offer a new interpretation of the table lamp, which until then had been, par excellence, the Naska Loris of the 1930s. Michele De Lucchi concealed the workings and the springs using a system copied from the trabucco fishing device, which has a guiding rope to manoeuvre the net, and adding an element that made it possible to move the lamp with one hand, perhaps to aim it at the point where architect’s pencil is drawing. Created in different sizes, this lamp is truly immortal, as is demonstrated by the recent new edition of the smallest version of the series with a beautiful gold finish.

The Parentesi lamp

Parentesi is a lamp devised by the Italian designers Achille Castiglioni and Pio Manzù and produced by the Italian firm Flos since 1971. It is an icon of Italian industrial design, and is part of the permanent collection of the Triennale Design Museum in Milan. The lamp is on display in many museums and exhibitions dedicated to industrial design all over the world, such as the MoMa in New York. In Italy, besides the Triennale Design Museum in Milan, Parentesi can also be seen at GAMeC in Bergamo and other galleries and museums of national importance.

360° design environments

The right lighting is essential to enhance any setting, but only if the finishes of the floors follow a style consistent with it, able to make spaces appear larger and give them a particular appeal. Floor coverings are important to create the perfect framework for our homes and to create just the right context for furnishings. Designer lamps require finishes for unique floors to interact with, such as the new DOT collection, with its iconic concrete effect, or Trastevere Vibrato, with its smooth, warm light effects. Ceramica Fioranese presents plenty of new collections able to create the ideal environment for vintage modern pieces, creating simple yet sophisticated atmospheres in which the clean-cut lines bring an allure of timeless elegance. Discover all the finishes in the new collections at