Gae Aulenti died on 31 October after a long illness. There will obituaries everywhere that draw our attention to the work that she did, particularly with museums, for example: the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco; the conversion of the Palazzo Grassi in Venice; and, in Paris, the contemporary art gallery at the Pompidou Centre and the Musée d'Orsay:
She was one of the first female architects to be awarded such prestigious projects.
See the obituary in the British Daily Telegraph here.
From our point of view, though, we were particularly aware of the spectacular glass art pieces that she designed for Venini. For example, Geacolor...
...a wonderful demonstration of her abilities as a designer and of the skills of the Venini glass workers. It bursts with colour and life. As with a Jackson Pollock, the energy used to bring it into existence (the maestro throws layers of coloured glass at it, very carefully, so each Geacolor is unique) is manifest.
In 1980, she designed the coffee table with wheels (Tavolo con Ruote) for them...
... and in 1993, she did a dining table version. Chasing the table round the room during dinner parties certainly breaks the ice!
But the interest of Fine Lighting News readers is in her lights.
Only last week, I was talking to FontanaArte's Business Development Manager at Interieur Kortrijk and he identified Parola as one of his favourite lights in their collection. Here is the table version from 1980:
It is one of those designs that does not shout at you. It sits there quietly whilst you look at it and realize that there is nothing that should be changed -- every angle, every finish, the relationship between the parts, its functionality -- perfect. There is a floor version, Parolona:
and a wall version:
Also in the current FontanaArte catalogue is Giova of 1964. It is a light that you can put plants into, or leave empty as light sculpture:
It is big (H66cm Ø55cm) and can be made even bigger, to H86cm -- the stem extends. The result is a light that has a massive personality -- it functions as a sculpture, not just as a light.
You can download the full datasheets here: Martinelli Luce Gae Aulenti Pipistrello datasheet.
Gae Aulenti (born Gaetana Aulenti): 4 December 1927 to 31 october 2012.