Portrait of Italian designer Victoriano Viganò wearing a white shirt and a white tie while he was young

Vittoriano Viganò

Italian designer and architect

Vittoriano Vigano. The father of Italian Brutalism, prolific architect and urban planner, academic, and creator of light designs that delivered beauty, balanced gravity and explored color.

Vittoriano Viganò (born December 19, 1919, Milan, Italy–died January 5, 1996, Milan, Italy) was an Italian designer and architect. He was born into a culturally-rich environment, as his father was the painter and engraver Vico Viganò. The young Vittoriano developed a strong interest in design from a young age, which later led him to enroll at the school of architecture at the Politecnico di Milano, graduating in 1944. After World War II, he had a brief apprenticeship at BBPR, obtained a master’s degree in construction and the use of reinforced concrete with famed engineer Arturo Danusso in 1947, and served as an assistant to Gio Ponti in the department of interior architecture, furniture and decoration.

Viganò’s comprehensive approach to design

In 1947, Viganò opened his own studio, started a long-term cooperation with Gino Sarfatti and his lighting design and manufacturing company Arteluce, and began a 16-year editorial contribution with the French magazine L’architecture d’aujourd’hui directed by his friend French sculptor André Bloc.

Through his studio, Viganò developed a wide professional practice that included industrial design, interior design, architecture and urban planning projects. It is at this time that he started to articulate the similarities shared among all design practices, and to discount the notion of interior architecture and design as banal decorative practices. For him, these intimate disciplines shared the approach and aims of architecture and urban planning.

Important lamp designs by Vittoriano Viganò

With Arteluce, Vittoriano Viganò first worked as an artistic and technical advisor in 1946, but in 1950, while Gino Sarfatti went on a long research trip to the United States, he became the artistic director of Arteluce and contributed his own design imprint by using metal cones and shapes to shed and project light along large arms. Upon Sarfatti’s return, Viganò continued coproducing light designs for Arteluce until 1960.

Among Vittoriano Viganò’s important light design contributions for Arteluce are the floor lamp model 1047 (1950), the ceiling light model 2062 (1951), the wall light model 199 (1951), and the ceiling light model 2019 (1959).

Prominent Vittoriano Viganò architectural projects

Vittoriano Viganò’s architectural works display a concerted social commitment and the use of poor everyday materials within a highly modernist practice. His buildings often have large open spaces, display raw cement surfaces, and use geometric bold shapes as part of their façades. These building often contrasted with the prevalent bourgeois expectations of beauty, by presenting a raw, unadorned, and undeniably elegant alternative.

Among Vittoriano Viganò’s most prominent architectural projects are the cinema theaters Dal Verme and Cavour (Milan 1947 and 1963), the QT8 town houses (Milan 1948), the sports centre in Salsomaggiore (1948-49), the Del Fiore Gallery (Milan 1953) and Apollinare gallery (Milan 1955), the Instituto Marchiondi Spagliardi in collaboration with architect Reyner Banham (Milan 1955-57), the Cartiera Sterzi paper mill (Varese 1958), the house “La Scala” for André Bloc in (Portese del Garda 1958), the Arteluce store (Milan 1962), the XIV Triennale di Milano staircase (1968), the nature-sea environment complex in Rimini Bellaria (1978-86), and the expansion of the architecture department at the Politecnico di Milano (Milan 1985).

Last updated: April 7, 2020

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Vittoriano Viganò

Antonio Piva & Elena Cao

Gangemi Editore

Rome Italy. (2009)


L’Istituto Marchiondi Spagliardi di Vittoriano Viganò

Freanz Graf and Letizia Tedeschi

Academic Press

Mendrisio, Switzerland. (2009)


Vittoriano Viganò: A Come Architettura

Vittoriano Viganò

Mondadori Electa

Milan, Italy. (1992)