Italian light manufacturer
Arteluce (established in 1939) is a premier lighting company founded by Gino Sarfatti. Born in Venice, Sarfatti moved to Genoa in 1930 and studied the new science of aeronautical engineering. But as the decade progressed, the political situation in Italy impacted negatively his family’s economic situation. These new hardships forced Gino Sarfatti to abandon his engineering career, deciding instead to focus his attention wholly on designing Modernist lamps. This step fit well with Sarfatti’s young entrepreneurial instincts, and his design talent and drive promptly rewarded him with success. In 1939, Sarfatti founded lighting studio Arteluce when he moved his manufacturing facility to Milan, and he opened a new retail shop on corso Matteotti.
After being forced to flee to Switzerland from 1941 to 1946 to avoid the anti-Semitism of Mussolini’s regime, Gino Sarfatti returned to Italy, where he oversaw the establishment of Arteluce as an extremely successful endeavor known for its creative style. It is estimated that Sarfatti designed between 400 and 700 lighting pieces in his career. This may explain why the Arteluce brand can be found in lamps in an incredibly wide variety of settings, including well-styled homes and apartments, stores, and even the Teatro Regio in Turin. read more
In 1950, Gino Sarfatti took a long and important trip to the United States. During his absence, he assigned the artistic directorship of Arteluce to his friend Vittoriano Viganò. During his tenure, Viganò made important design contributions to Arteluce and some of his most successful designs were for lights with large light cones and articulated arms, such as the his ceiling light Model 2062.
Gino Sarfatti understood the importance for the brand and its prestige that the Arteluce shop in Milan had, and, in 1953, he invited the prominent Italian designer Marco Zanuso to completely redesign the shop. The following year, in 1954, Arteluce was awarded the Grand Prix at the Triennale di Milano (Milan Triennial) for the rollout of the innovative and minimalist floor lamp (Model 1063), with a design centered around a visible fluorescent tubular bulb, which remains popular to this day. During the later part of the 1950s and for the 1960s, Arteluce collaborated with the most important Italian designers of the time such as Franco Albini, Franca Helg, Ico Parisi, Vittoriano Viganò, and Massimo Vignelli.
By the late 1960s, the complexity of Arteluce’s business had grown considerably and required a much larger managerial workforce. At this time, Gino Sarfatti’s sons and other family members joined the company, but Gino Sarfatti decided to sell Arteluce to Flos in 1973 at the peak of its sales and profits.
Since it has been owned by Flos, the Arteluce brand has not been developed as much, and some of the designs in Aerteluce’s portfolio are now sold under the Flos brand worldwide.
Last updated: April 24, 2019
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