Davide Groppi

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

...to 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):

http://vimeo.com/63903417

Davide Groppi Miss pendant lights colour set

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Milan 2013's most exciting lighting trend: graphic!

Vibia Wireflow pendant light Arik Levy "Graphic" is probably not the best name for this trend: it'll be easier to understand what I mean from the pictures.

Above is Wireflow by Arik Levy for Vibia. Three were hanging over the desk on their stand. It is as if someone is drawing in the air. They look two dimensional, though an unexpected effect is to increase awareness of the space that they are in. They are big:

Vibia Wireflow pendant lights with Arik Levy

Earlier that day, we had been delighted by Davide Groppi's N-euro by Beppe Merlano. That is it going up the wall in the back of this picture taken on their stand:

N-EURO pendant light from Davide Groppi

You get the lighting body on one end of a lot of black cable, with a plug to go into a socket at the other end. The round wall attachments allow you to draw across the wall and ceiling, the pattern depending upon where you choose to put them.

N-EURO pendant light from Davide Groppi

But it is not one swalowe that bryngeth in somer. Any more than two lights make a trend. But a third...? This was Michael Anastassiades for Flos -- String Light:

String Light Michael Anastassiades Flos

We are indebted to Domus for this explanation:

String Light Michael Anastassiades Flos

It looked absolutely fabulous:

string light flos michael anastassiades

But, of course, the concept had already been established before Milan 2013 by the visionary Catellani & Smith. The most minimal of all is his Light Stick:

Catellani & Smith Light Stick floor light

and here is his Sorry Giotto:

catellani & smith sorry giotto floor light

He adds another -- almost secret -- level of interest, because the discs are not black, as you'd expect, but copper hand painted with blue.

Such minimal graphic designs in lesser hands could be/will be boring and become a cliché. But here we have four truly stunning pieces.

 

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Milan 2013: Fuori Salone

Euroluce name in colours This is the fifth of a series of posts to be published this week that will build up into our Handy Guide to Euroluce 2013. This one looks at what is happening in Milan itself at the same time. Other posts look at who is in halls nine, eleven, thirteen and fifteen -- the main |Euroluce event at the Rho fairground. The last post in the series will pull all the content together into one document, with updates and corrections. This will then form the basis for our customary PDFs -- alphabetical, and by hall -- for you to use at the Fair. 

That last post in the series will remain up throughout the week of the Fair so that you can download the PDFs , or read it on your mobile thingy, at any time.

EUROLUCE MILAN 2013 – FUORI SALONE

The Milan Furniture Fair “fringe” is becoming as important as the Fairs themselves. Even if manufacturers are showing at the Fair, many also have a separate presence in Milan, where they may display more experimental things (one year, Foscarini did a display of their lights all in white, for example) and where they hold their parties.

Basically, they will intend their presence outwith the Fair to be more cool, and sometimes their products will be displayed in more relevant spaces. Baccarat chandeliers will probably look better in the Palazzo Morando, than on their stand in a big trade fair hall, for example.

You can end up walking quite a long way (and the forecast is for rain throughout the week this year) and then find an empty shop with many examples of one design artfully displayed – i.e. a total waste of time. In other cases, the Milan presence is in their own permanent showrooms, often allowing one to see more of the collection than was on the stand. Then there are companies who only show in Milan, rather than at the fair ground, so you won’t see what they are doing unless you track them down.

There is no way this summary can be complete – it relies on what we have been told. Always pick up the guide published by Interni magazine (there are others), of which there will be free copies at every destination, and at hotels, &c. There will also be banners outside participating locations.

I have grouped these entries by the main locations. There is a miscellaneous section at the end.

BRERA DISTRICT

Atelier Areti EDIT, La Pelota, Via Palermo 10 www.atelierareti.com

Innermost EDIT www.innermost.net

Kalmar EDIT www.kalmarlighting.com

EDIT's web site: thedesignjunction.co.uk/milan

 

Lee Broom Spazio Pontaccio, Via Pontaccio 18 www.leebroom.com

Nendo Spazio Pontaccio     www.nendo.jp/en

Roll & Hill Spazio Pontaccio     www.rollandhill.com

Spazio Pontaccio's web site:   www.spaziopontaccio.it

Foscarini Via Pontaccio 19 www.foscarini.com

Memphis Spazio Understate, Viale Francesco Crispi 5/b, corner of Via Varese store.memphis-milano.com

In spite of my pointing out for years that the products of the great period of Memphis – of Ettore Sottsass, Michele De Lucchi, Matteo Thun &c. – are still available, no client has ever expressed any interest whatsoever. Maybe that’s good thing – maybe their work still shocks and appals. Time, and exposure in books, museums, &c. has not made them desirable – even acceptable – to the mainstream. To see if you are mainstream, go and see the finest pieces from this collection. Cocktails at 19:00 on Friday.

Produzione Privata Via Varese 15 www.produzioneprivata.it

Exceptional pieces (by no means just lighting) from the exceptional architect/designer/artist, Michele De Lucchi. Creating his “private production” out of his studio enables him to work with fine craftspeople and materials. He only ever show on the ground floor of the studio, so this is an essential destination.

Corso Como 10 Corso Como 10 www.10corsocomo.com

One hardly needs an excuse to visit this concept store, but there is a compelling one anyway this year – an Angelo Mangiarotti retrospective. (He designed the iconic – and much copied – Giogali system for Vistosi, made up a glass hooks.)

SAN BABILA Metro M1

This metro station is selected as the hub out from which runs the luxury shopping streets of Via Monte Napoleone, Via Della Spiga, &c. plus the lighting shopping street of Corso Monforte.

Aqua Creations Boutique Mimí, Via Gesù 3 www.aquagallery.com

Artemide showroom, Corso Monforte 19 www.artemide.it

Baccarat Palazzo Morando, Via Sant’Andrea 6 int.baccarat.com/Lighting/lighting,en,sc.html

Barovier & Toso showroom, Via Durini 5, also: Russki Dom, Palazzo Visconti, Via Cino del Duca 8       www.barovier.com

EOQ Entratalibera, Corso Independenza 16 (go to the end of Corso Monforte. Corso Independenza splits: Entratalibera is on the south side) www.eoq-design.com

A young company producing excellent designs by Michael Young, using very high quality production facilities that normally make delicate aluminium pieces – e.g. fascias for technical equipment. Simple, elegant, clean – and colourful (Oh no. I shouldn’t have said colourful.... You’ll not go now.)

Flos showroom, Corso Monforte 9 www.flos.com

Ingo Maurer Spazio Krizia, Via Manin 21 (a bit of a walk, round the park, but essential – you’ll be surprised, delighted...)  www.ingo-maurer.com

Lindsey Adelman Nilufar, Via della Spiga 32 www.lindseyadelman.comThe web site of Nilufar, an important destination in its own right, is www.nilufar.com

Luceplan showroom, Corso Monforte 7 www.luceplan.com

Venini showroom, Via Monte Napoleone 9 www.venini.com

ZONA TORTONA to avoid that terrible bridge, go to Metro Sant’Agostino (M2), cross the big road, and walk down the south side of the little park.

David Trubridge Superstudiopiu’   www.davidtrubridge.com

We have been thrilled to see the increasing levels of awareness and appreciation of David’s work. There is a higher proportion of pieces available in kit form, which dramatically reduces the shipping costs (bearing in mind that he is based in New Zealand). They are as environmentally sound as they look. There is also a playfulness, and an elegance, the sense of the sea.... Plus the virtues of wood – no wonder he is so popular in Scandinavia. By the way, his works are now in our LIGHT FINDER.

Superstudiopiu' web site: http://www.superstudiogroup.com

Lasvit Via Gaspare Bugatti 15 www.lasvit.com

Moooi Via Savona 56 www.moooi.com

1700 sq m housing their “special welcome”...

Contemporary Japanese Design Via Volhera 4 www.c-japandesign.net

VENTURA LAMBRATE go to Metro Lambrate (M2), then cross the railway tracks.

Catellani & Smith Casa della Luce, Via Ventura 5 www.catellanismith.com

 

Woka Vienna Design Week, Via Privata Oslavia 17 www.woka.at

Lobmeyr Vienna Design Week www.lobmeyr.at

Vienna Design Week in Milan web page: www.viennadesignweek.at/news.php?id=628

 

ELSEWHERE

Davide Groppi Chiostri dell’Umanitaria, Via S. Barnaba -- Metro Crocetta (M3) or trams 12, 23 or 27 to Vittoria (Palazzo Giustizia) www.davidegroppi.com

This will be a fabulous display of wonderful, minimal lights in a series of cloisters - -magical at dusk!  Have a look at t the “ichiostri” web site (www.ichiostri.net) to see what I mean – not just a café but cloisters with gardens: “a location full of atmosphere of mystery”. Not just a lighting collection, but also a corner of Milan worth discovering.

Davide Groppi Via Medici 13 -- Metro Crocetta (M3) or trams 2, 3 or 14 to Torino Carrobbio

...and here they will be displaying lighting that is particularly suited to restaurants.

Prandina Triennale -- Metro Cadorna (M1, M2)  prandina.it

One of the best Italian lighting companies, at one of the most important design destinations in the world. The Triennale (recently remodelled internally by Michele De Lucchi) always has lots of interesting things happening during this design week – plus the bookshop and a great café with a large outside area by the park.

The Triennale's web site: www.triennale.it

 

Tom Dixon MOST, Museo natzionale della Scienza e dalle Tecnologia, via Olona 6B -- Metro Sant’Ambrogio (M2) www.tomdixon.net

Sander Mulder MOST www.sandermulder.com

Brokis MOST www.brokis.cz

Brokis is a particularly interesting new brand from the Czech Republic: very high quality glass working and very good, clever, witty designs. New introductions of theirs will also be shown at the Fair on the stand of Misuraemme (hall 7, stands G09 and H16).

Spazio Rossana Orlandi Via Matteo Bandello 14/16 -- Metro Sant’Ambrogio (M2) or Conciliazione (M1) www.rossanaorlandi.com

Another essentuial venue where this year, amongst other things, Baroncelli will be showing Innovo, combining LEDs and bits of old chandeliers. www.baroncelli.com

Windfall Palazzo Durini, Via Santa Maria Valle 2 -- Metro Missori (M3) www.windfall-gmbh.de

The single most important destination. Windfall creates the finest works in contemporary crystal in the world. You want to go there with your head to see what is possible. You want to go there with your heart to experience the thrill of crystal and light (plus beautiful people).

 

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Euroluce 2013: Hall 11

  Euroluce name in colours

This is the second of a series of posts to be published this week that will build up into our Handy Guide to Euroluce 2013. This one looks at who is a hall eleven. Other posts look at who is in other halls and also what is happening where fuori salone. The last post in the series will pull all the content together into one document, with updates and corrections. This will then form the basis for our customary PDFs -- alphabetical, and by hall -- for you to use at the Fair. 

That last post in the series will remain up throughout the week of the Fair so that you can download the PDFs , or read it on your mobile thingy, at any time.

EUROLUCE MILAN 2013 – HALL 11

Album D21 E20 www.album.it

You MUST visit this stand, even if you visit no others! The reason is that Album’s systems make possible results that it would otherwise be very difficult to achieve. This includes getting the light source as near as possible to the thing being lit – essential if you are serious about saving energy. But it is never really clear what they can do until you have seen for yourself, when you will also discover how beautifully designed the lighting bodies are. When you add to these strengths the fact that they are one of the few decorative lighting companies using LEDs well, and that they now have an outdoor collection...well you can perhaps begin to understand why you should visit their stand!

Artemide C19 D28 www.artemide.com

One of the most important companies in decorative lighting, that manages to bring out very good, very interesting lights from top designers every year – for example, one of several innovative spot lights new to their catalogue is Cata, designed by Carlotta de Bevilacqua, that won this year’s prestigious IF Product Design award. This stand is, of course, a must.

Arturo Alvarez C35 www.arturo-alvarez.com

Arturo Alvarez will be introducing to their already strong offering new lights using LEDs and silicone, that are specifically designed with the hospitality and project markets in mind. With the world mired in the financial doldrums, this is a good approach. The designs need not be compromised by having to suit a particular market and/or function – quite the opposite.

Baga F27 F31 www.patriziagarganti.com

Patrizia Garganti has added several more brands to the original Baga – Lovelylight, Bespoke Lighting Design, ME, Atelier Tailor Made – and we saw some useful designs at their stand two years ago. But they never sent us the information that they had promised, so I suppose the message is caveat emptor.

Céline Wright D25 www.celinewright.com

We are so pleased Céline Wright will be showing at Euroluce! No-one makes lighter pieces than she does: floating shapes – large and small – from paper, often suspended from the most delicate structures, that may be complemented by the use of a pebble to provide weight. This year she has introduced her new Arabesque collection, that look a bit like the outline of a whirling Dervish!

Danese C19 D28 www.danesemilano.com

Danese have a larger collection of lights, both professional and decorative, than you may have realised. By showing at Euroluce, it will be possible to focus on this segment of their collection.

Davide Groppi B29 C32 www.davidegroppi.com

Another essential stand! What they do is so elegant, so minimal that you could whizz past with just a glance. Big mistake! There is an amazing team joyfully at work here, producing their own unique solutions to lighting requirements in a variety of locations, particularly restaurant tables.  They manage to create luminaires that look like sculptures hanging over a table that mysteriously has puddles of light on it – i.e. it is not obvious that the luminaires are producing the light (and there is no glare). Difficult to describe, but easy to see. If you look...

Fine Art Lamps H55 www.fineartlamps.com

Fine Art Lamps is one of the very few American lighting companies that bothers to make international versions of their lights, so they can be used in Europe. This is good for all those UK designers who are drawn to American-style lights. It is also good because, in a very varied collection, there are some humdingers.

FontanaArte B21 C18 www.fontanaarte.com

Since becoming part of the NICE Group, we have been delighted to see FontanaArte recovering its mojo. Already one of the finest collections of 20th century designs – partly by keeping models from the 1930s onwards in their collection – they are now adding further strong designs, some of which are classics and some of which are new. Look out for the beautiful, minimal floor light called Yumi. Remember, UK specifiers, that they now keep a stock of their main designs in UK for quick delivery. This is bound to be a stand not to be missed!

Foscarini A19 B24 www.foscarini.com

Another of the very greatest names in decorative lighting, the quality of whose collection is matched by the efficiency of their operation. A huge stand (880sq m), again designed by Ferruccio Laviani, that will have space for proper meetings and discussions, and 200sq m set aside for the Successful Living from Diesel collection.

They have a programme of talks where specific lights are discussed by their designers. It is really interesting to be taken through the process of design. You may then understand better why it takes, on average, two years from original concept until when a light is commercially available. Download Foscarini's Meet the Designers sessions to see who is talking and when.

Innermost D23 E24 www.innermost.net

A UK company that can hold its head high, mixing it with the most design-advanced exhibitors in Paris, Stockholm and Milan, thanks to their fascinating and growing collection, that is also well-priced. When you are on the stand, get up close’n’personal (with the lights) – for example, Glaze, that appears to be made from an impossible liaison between copper and ivory....

Kalmar F35 www.kalmarlighting.com

The Viennese company, Kalmar, is over 130 years old and has a history that embraces, for example,  Josef Frank’s and Oskar Wlach’s avant-garde pre-war furnishing showrooms, Haus & Garten, so they have an amazing archive that they are now plundering to create their Werkstätten collection. The designs are fantastic, the quality of production is equally fantastic – we are delighted by the very positive reactions we get to pictures of the collection, so please do make the most of the opportunity to see the real things, up close.

Karboxx E34 www.karboxx.com

Karboxx fascinates because of its dedication to innovative materials, such as carbon fibre and refined glass fibre, that make possible designs (light, strong, often minimal) that could not be be made in other materials. That does not mean that their collection is impractical – quite the opposite. It does mean, though, that a visit to their stand is always justified, to see what new things they have come up with.

Lampe Gras E35 lampegras.fr and

Lampe B. Schottlander E35 www.schottlander.fr

This is a stand that we will be making a bee-line for. DCW Éditions have already brought back the iconic Lampe Gras, that gets ever more exciting, with longer articulated structures (as if made by a mad plumber) and new, cool, colourways. The latest versions (two table lights, one floor-standing uplighter, one pendant and four wall lights) will be shown.

However, they are now also re-editing a collection dating from 1951, designed by the German-born Englishman, Bernard Schottlander. He was an artist, engineer, and fan of Alexander Calder’s who devised a clever system of counterweights that are combined with a series of strong and flexible metal bars. To these are attached aluminium shades. He creates a helical movement in which the symmetrical and the asymmetrical are in opposition. Very much of their period, when you see them you will understand how useful such designs, from a reliable supplier, will be.

Lamp di Volpato Patrizia F28 www.patriziavolpato.it

One of the best sources of chandeliers made from triedri, quadriedri and triangular bars of optical glass (a standard Venetian concept that gives you more of the magical play of light and glass for your euro or pound than anything else), they also have an extensive collection of Italian contemporary designs.

 Laudarte H40 www.laudarte.com

Laudarte now also have Leone Aliotti and Leo Mirai under their wing – collections from all three will be on their stand. Leone Aliotti’s designs are traditional, gold, highly decorated, with lampshades. Leo Mirai’s also have lampshades, but the bases are simpler and in nickel. Laudarte’s own collection tends towards Leone Aliotti’s, but there are some other interesting designs – e.g. lanterns. Laudarte are a good source of custom pieces.

Le Porcellane F33 www.leporcellane.it

Few foreigners would associate Florence with fine porcelain, but the long-standing presence of Richard Ginori in Sesto Fiorentino has resulted in the presence thee of smaller companies set up by people that they have trained. Le Porcellane does wonderful traditional collections that include lamp bases. We have not felt that their shades (which they buy in) are as good as their bases, though – do let us know what you think.

  LZF D32 www.lzf-lamps.com

LZF have taken a specific material – the thin strip of wood veneer – and created a large and very varied collection using it. All the pieces benefit from its attractive nature, which is strengthened by the imaginative designs and, frequently, pastel colouring (that never conceals the grain).

Mazzuccato G33 www.mazzuccatomurano.it

Mazzuccato is the real deal – a furnace, still run by one a scion of the great Murano glass families, and still on Murano. They have the finest collection of traditional Muranese designs, with a wide range of flowers, colours and finishes. That is not to say that they don’t also have good contemporary designs in stronger colours, but so do others. Since everything is made to order, custom sizes and details are possible.

Mechini H36 www.mechini.com

Mechini are the leading exponent of a Florentine tradition for chandeliers (and other items) made from painted metal combined with glass. The range of designs, colours and sizes is huge, plus they willingly do custom pieces. Since we have no longer had our showrooms, we have sold very few, so they clearly need to be seen – as you can do if you go to stand H36! You’ll like some more than others.

MEE Murano F45 www.meemurano.com

MEE’s is a fascinating collection of very contemporary, experimental Venetian glass designs. You’ll either love them or hate them – nothing could be further from the design language of many UK-based designers. But if you have a brave, flamboyant client, something from MEE Murano might be just the thing. Have a look.

Pallucco C33 www.pallucco.com

A very interesting collection from some top designers. This year, they have a LED version of the vast Fortuny flood light (that normally has a 500W incandescent lamp). It will be interesting to see how it performs. There will also be Arianna, an intriguing design of moveable cherry  wood rods, and Tape – a spot light shining down onto tape strung across a wheel. They look much better than these descriptions suggest, so you have to go look.

Torremato D36 www.torremato.com

We will be fascinated to see what Torremato introduce at the show! A young brand (an offshoot of the very different Il Fanale q.v.), they are going their own way, using wood and metal to create wonderful indoor and outdoor lights.

Venetia Studium (Fortuny) F30 www.venetiastudium.com

Venetia Studium has been one of our favourite makers since we began – fabulous Fortuny designs made from hand-painted silk, in Venice. If the patterned versions are too art nouveau for your project, then consider the plain versions.   Most designs are now available in glass, for environments where more light in needed, or where they risk being knocked about. They also make thrilling versions of the large Fortuny floodlight – the pieces may be big but they are engineered like jewels. Look out for the one with rich gold leaf inside the reflector – wonderful to look at and warming the light being cast.

Vistosi E23 F22 www.vistosi.it

Vistosi’s is probably the finest collection of contemporary glass lights. There are good designs for all sorts of applications, from simple pieces for a corridor, to designs created to be flexible so that specials can be mad; from designs ideal for cascades down stairwells, to Angelo Mangiarotti’s endlessly flexible Giogali system of glass hooks.

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A homage to the light bulb #1: Edi son from Davide Groppi

Davide Groppi Edison table light 1 The light that we see is the part of the spectrum of energy that is produced by something burning -- the sun, a candle, a fire. It is therefore  part of the energy that gives us -- and every living thing on the planet -- life. Most of the spectrum is invisible to us, but it all affects us.

An incandescent lamp produces the full spectrum, including visible light, by heating its filament.

Fluorescent light sources, which include LEDs, use fluorescing phosphors and filters to produce spikes of light at particular points in the visible spectrum. Since the complete spectrum is not being produced, we don't like the light and colours are not faithfully rendered. But it worse than that: we are not benefiting from the parts of the spectrum that are invisible to us.

The result is that modern people, who live most of their lives in artificial light, will be unhappy.

However, another by-product of the enforced change-over from incandescent lamps is a nostalgia for the lamp we all know and understand. This is partly conscious and partly subconscious. It is leading to good decorative luminaire makers creating homages to the light bulb.

This is Edi son from Davide Groppi:

Davide Groppi Edison table light set 3

For Christmas, they have made a short (42 seconds) , elegiac video of it. If you have any soul, you also will be surprised by how moving you find it:

http://vimeo.com/53799788

Here are the technical details:

Davide Groppi Edison table light tech info 1

Davide Groppi Edison table light tech info 2

Davide Groppi Edison table light 4

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