Italian light maker
Stilnovo (established 1946) was founded by Bruno Gatta in Lainate, a city on the outskirts of Milan, just as Italy was grappling with the effects of reconstruction after World War II. Seeking a new design aesthetic that would both speak to the sentiment of the beginning of a new era, but also mindful of the relative austerity of Italy at the time, Bruno Gatta launched Stilnovo focusing its light designs on function and practicality.
To unify this new design sense, Bruno Gatta selected the name Stilnovo, which translates to “new style.” A term that was first used by the 13th-century Italian literary movement, Dolce Stil Novo, championed by Dante Alighieri, Guido Guinizelli, and Guido Cavalcanti, that aimed for a superior and more intelligent poetry with the use of metaphors and symbolism. Gatta sought the cleverness and understood the need for a new design language, and appropriated the name to execute his vision. read more
In the mid 1950s, Angelo Gaetano Sciolari was brought in to Sitlnovo as its head designer. Gaetano Scolari was an accomplished light designer and businessman that had previously managed his family lighting company. As the economic situation in Italy improved, Sciolari was able to consolidate Stilnovo’s position as one of the premier lighting companies of the time, becoming a beacon of design experimentation and setting a unique and compelling lighting style imitated by many.
By the mid 1960s, Dino Gatta, son of founder Bruno, set a new phase for Stilnovo based on design collaborations with some of the most reputable Italian designers. During this time, Stilnovo created important lighting designs such as: Danilo and Corrado Aroldi’s Persicopio floor lamp (1967), Joe Colombo’s Triedo spotlight and Topo wall lamp (1970), Gae Aulenti’s and Livio Castiglioni’s Trepiu flool lamps (1972), Cini Boeri’s Lucetta wall lamp (1973), and Ettore Sottsass’ Valiga desk lamp (1977).
Stilnovo became recognized internationally, with several of their designs showcased in the landmark “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape” exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1972. But by the later part of the 20th century and early 2000s, Stilnovo sales and fame declined. In 2012 Massimo Anselmi purchased the company and its intellectual property, and since then he has embarked on series of re editions of the Stilnovo’s most iconic pieces.
Last updated: January 9, 2019
For additional information on Stilnovo, please visit: Stilnovo Italian Designers, The Legend Continues.” Secret Italy, 21 March 2016.
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