Regular readers will know that we are excited by the trend to re-issue great designs from the past. But, to be a bit more precise, it is the quality of the designs being selected that really impresses.
To celebrate their eightieth birthday (and, informally, their finding their mojo again since joining with Nice Group), FontanaArte have re-issued three designs (a table and two lights) from their archive.
One is Ashanghai by the Frenchman, Max Ingrand, who was appointed Artistic Director of FontanaArte in 1954. This was a brave move! He was not really a product designer (he was an artist specializing in stained glass windows), he remained in Paris running his studio, and he only spoke French. So the Milan-based firm developed a new way of working. Max Ingrand would "...simply [outline] the artistic image of the object, without sketches or preliminary studies of a technical nature."
These would then be interpreted and turned into a detailed light design by the in-house experts.
It clearly worked, though, for Max Ingrand was responsible for one of the most iconic of FontanaArte's designs -- of all 20th century lights -- the Fontana table light, available in three sizes:
The Ashanghai, of 1955, is conventional, in that it is a base'n'shade -- the favourite type of light in UK. But that base is most unconventional! At first glance, it does not look as if it should work: the "...free-floating supports of [glass] rods...[form] acrobatically balanced triangles reminiscent of the chance compositions of the familiar Shanghai game, sheltered under a vast hat lamp bulb shade."
"Shanghai" = pick-up sticks:
It is a limited edition, so its value will go up, not down. There is therefore no reason not to buy one, really -- it would be an investment!
Here is one from the original series:
But what really matters with any light is what it looks like in a real space. A FontanaArte showroom is about to be opened in Kiev, where it is beautifully presented: