Milan 2013: Davide Groppi's poetic minimalism

Davide Groppi Miss pendant light Whether through a misunderstanding of Adolf Loos' dictum that ornament is crime, or because of a fear of being accused of mishandling content, meaning, interest, colour..., minimalism has been used as an excuse for removing things (even to only daring to wear black). The results are drab and boring -- often downright ugly if it is a 1960s building in rain-stained concrete.

Truly minimalist works are the hardest of all to create, but when they are done well, by a master, magic things happen.

Davide Groppi is just such a master. Have a look at the his Miss pendant at the top of the post. The luminaire comprises the simplest metal tube, in matt black or matt white, H75cm Ø2.5cm, and a pool of light on the table below it. At first glance there seems to be no connexion between them.

Davide Groppi Miss pendant light

Then the mind registers that there is a connexion -- an invisible one, but no less real for that. It is the effect found in the finest depictions of the Annunciation -- here, Donatello's in Santa Croce...

Donatello Annunciation Santa Croce

...where the most powerful element, the communication, the spark that passes between the eyes of the angel and Madonna, is in fact not physically present.

But the spark that Davide Groppi creates is no flash in the pan -- he has form! Here is his Nulla spot light illuminating a table top:

Davide Groppi Nulla spot light

It is recessed itno the ceiling and has a diameter of only 25mm! Yet this is what it can do:

Davide Groppi Nulla spot light with sax

Like most minimalists, Davide Groppi has abjured colour -- until now! At Milan, he launched coloured versions of Miss:

Davide Groppi MISS pendant lights - coloured

And he did it really properly, turning to the world's most famous exponent of colour in fashion, the Spanish aristocrat, Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada, 12th Marquise of Castelldosrius...

Agatha Ruiz de la Prada get not just the right colours, in the right combination, but the exact hues.

Another introduction, Tetatet, is novel in a different way:

Davide Groppi tetatet cordless table light

Recognizing that, both for comfort and for saving energy, there should be a lamp on orjust above the centre of a dining table, Miss provides the pendant option, and now Tetatet is a source of light on the table, like a candle. This is usually difficult to do, because lamps need power cables, and tables are moved. Tetatet is battery powered.

It looks as if it should fall over: it doesn't because it is magnetic. In case the table is not made of a suitable metal, they provide a metal plate to put under the table cloth. This allows another minimal, gravity-defying design, which requires no large, heavy base.

Davide Groppi is the best kind of minimalist. He does not work by denying himself what could give give his products interest. Instead, he is a consummate artist -- a magician, capable of poetic effects -- who shows how powerful a minimal. abstract composition can be.

See here a video of his stand at Euroluce with his commentary (in Italian):

Davide Groppi Miss pendant lights colour set

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