FontanaArte

Brands

FontanaArte at lightjunction

Our fine lighting event, lightjunction, taking place as part of designjunction during the London Design Festival (17-21 September), has a very specific purpose. It is to increase specifiers’ awareness and understanding of high quality, relevant suppliers of decorative lighting. I'm highlighting some exhibitors in these posts, to give an idea of how the brands were chosen.FONTANA ARTE

Why learn about FontanaArte?

In my previous post about Cini&Nils, I pointed out that brands can change, so we need to keep you up-to-date with what they are doing. I can think of none that has changed more radically than FontanaArte! And what they have changed to is as notable as what they have changed from. This matters, because theirs is still one of the very finest collections of contemporary lighting, with classic designs in their catalogue from the 1930s and every decade since.

What have they changed from? Strong designs from different designers and periods mean that theirs is a very varied collection, but the one thing in common has always been that they were made of glass. Glass, glass, glass. In fact, FontanaArte was created in 1932 to make glass lighting and furniture: it grew out of the Milanese glass company, Luigi Fontana.  The acquisition of Candle in 1993 gave them a second brand under which they could explore other materials. When the Candle brand name was dropped and the two collections amalgamated, FontanaArte now had some non-glass lights, but the collection was — and triumphantly still is — predominantly glass.

So, imagine the surprise when the stand at Light+Building in April had no glass lights!!! 

Actually it did have one glass light, but it was shut away behind a locked door, like the things in jars in the Salzburg Natural History Museum’s collection that are not suitable for children. But, if you were allowed in, what an exciting discovery there was: the Total Black version of the iconic Fontana, designed by Max Ingrand in 1954, available in all three sizes:

Of course, there is no such thing as black glass, so when the lamps inside are lit (in the base as well as the shade, separately switched), the Fontana Total Black reveals itself to be a wonderful blackcurrant colour:

So what have FontanaArte changed to? Well, if one did not know better, one would assume that the latest collection was from a Scandinavian company. Or, put another way, very, very fashionable!

Look at the colours. This is Cloche, an update of Pudding from 1995. There is a light grey and a dark grey — i.e. bang on the money. There is also a yellow, but it is not a bright Mediterranean yellow: it is darker, dirtier — a northern, urban, mustard yellow.

Igloo also comes in two tones of grey, and shares with Cloche a matt finish. But there is a lot more than that to Igloo. The material it is made of, for example: it has a double shell of self-extinguishing plastic technopolymer. But what is most remarkable is how much you can do with it. There is a single module. Here are nine of them in a row, all pointing downwards:

And here are another nine, this time pointing up and down:

Here is a close-up of four in a square:

As you can see, it is extremely versatile. It is also easy to use. It is, in fact, a modular, self-supporting system of spotlights that, thanks to a series of electromechanical connections, and curves and spacers, allows for the consecutive linking of up to 200 units without the need for any additional power cable! Here are two arrangements of seven hanging vertically:

It takes mains power (no separate power supply to locate) and dimmers are available. Just think how quick and simple installation could be — and how economical!

Vitro is a simple, elegant, very effective design that makes use of new materials.

The body always has a satin opal finish. It is the prismatic diffuser that can be changed: it comes in satin, transparent, chrome and bronze.

Vitro can also be ceiling mounted. So, you see? The look of it, and its name, suggest glass, but though it is from FontanaArte, it is not glass!

Actually, we should not have been so surprised by their move away from glass. There was not much glass in evidence in their 2013 collection, that included the amazing, 64cm high Odeon. This is a new type of luminaire; you have it facing a wall, so that is generates reflected light. It is the beautiful leather upholstery covering it that one sees:

And the body of Yupik is made out of polypropylene foam!

This makes it incredibly lightweight, yet robust, and a practical example of a currently-popular type of light — one that is on a long cable so that it can be hung, stood up, and moved around generally.

Needless to say, such radical and successful designs come from radical and successful studios. Yupik is by Form Us With Love, Vitro by Emmanuel Babled and Odeon is by Studio Klass, as is Igloo. Other achingly fashionable designers with whom FontanaArte are working include Studio Drift and Gamfratesi. So if you want to know what is happening in contemprary lighting design, spend some time on FontanaArte’s stand at lightjunction — for the Scandinavian aesthetic, the colours, the finishes, the materials, the new typologies, the cool designers…! In the process, you’ll also learn about a very practical, useable collection.

The light at the head of this email sums all this up. It is Lunaire by Ferréol Babin. The centre section can be moved in and out like a drawer, altering how the light is cast. Push it in, and the light emerges as a penumbra around the the larger disc. Pull it out and the centre of the larger disc is illuminated:

It comes in various finishes, so besides looking minimal and contemporary as above, it can also look luxurious:

Or mysterious…

You are going to kick yourself if you do not come along to lightjunction to experience these lights for yourself, aren't you!

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Seven fine outdoor standard lamps

Luceplan grande costanza open air floor light outdoor exterior Over the past few years, there has been a growing trend towards outdoor versions of indoor lights. This allows for the creation of outdoor rooms. You can also take a light and repeat it, first indoors and then outdoors. If you have a large plate glass window, the parade of lights can be seamless, powerfully connecting the exterior space with the interior space.

Here is an exterior version of Luceplan's iconic Costanza -- the Grande Costanza Open Air:

Luceplan Grance-air-01-21322-1The shade can be off-white, "rust" or light green. The structure can be white, aluminium or -- as in the top picture -- rust (a good finish for an outdoor light).

In most territories, there are no specific IP ratings required for outdoor lights. Instead, the manufacturer must make every aspect of the luminaire suitable for exterior use. This is not just a question of electrical safety: they also have to think about the effect of rain, sun, sand, salt and wind on the structure and materials.

This is what is going on inside the Grande Costanza shade...

Luceplan grande costanza open air detail

...the lamp and its holder are inside a sealed glass tube.

FontanaArte's Amax seems the odd one out in this company because it is so big. There are two versions: H205cm Ø82cm, or a humungous H240 Ø109cm (but then the indoor Amax is very big as well). Its size gives it a visual impact from a distance that smaller lights could never have.

FontanaArte amax terra outdoor floor light exterior standard lamp

To really get the effect of a standard lamp, it's fun to have a shade made from something that looks like a fabric that you might use in a drawing room.

Plis, one of Vibia's two outdoor standard lamps...

Vibia Plis 4035 outdoor standard lamp exterior floor light

...has a warm-toned polyethylene shade that is ribbed, as if it was made with ribbon.

Vibia Plis outdoor standard lamp detail

Whereas their Wind has an open weave shade that is in fact made from glass fibre filaments (in green, orange, white or black).

Vibia Wind 4055 outdoor standard lamp exterior floor light

The shade of Marset's lovely TXL is also made from fibre glass and plastic, to give a warm, fabric-like effect:

Marset TXL pitdopor standard lamp exterior floor lightLike several of these outdoor standard lamps, TXL is part of a family of outdoor versions of indoor lights. Here is the pendant (in the snow):

Marset TXL outdoor standard lamp exterior floor light

Bover's fine wicker (actually a polyethylene fibre) Fora...

Bover fora pie outdoor standard lamp exterior floor light

has a matching table light:

Bover fora mesa outdoor table light

However, all the lights so far have to be plugged in, but you are not going to have power sockets all around your garden, park or beach, as you do in the rooms of your house. Ideally, therefore, you would be able to pick up your standard lamp and plonk it down anywhere.

Those really nice people at Viteo thought this too and so came up with Zoe...

viteo zoe outdoor standard lamp exterior floor light cordless...which has solar panels on the top. About fifteen hours charging give five to six hours of light from the 7W 3000K LED light source. But what if you don't want a cordless version? That's OK: Viteo have introduced Zoe Basic, which you plug in -- just like all the others!

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Milan 2013: FontanaArte power ahead with top designers, new materials, new typologies

FontanaArte Odeon table light by Studio Klass Yes FontanaArte's rebirth continues at Euroluce with a virtuoso display of new lights from top design studios, using unusual materials, and creating new types of light.

A case in point is Odeon by Studio Klass. It is designed to sit on a table (or a floor) with the side out of which the light comes facing a wall, so that it creates reflected, shadowless, ambient light -- a new type of light. It could light up a dark corner. This is what it looks like if you turn the lit area towards you.

FontanaArte Odeon table light Studio Klass

You see the little tag on the back? That is so that you can pick it up easily. When you do, you will be struck by how light it is for something that is H64cm. That is because the main structure is made out of expanded polystyrene. And, as if that is not an unusual enough material, it is then covered in leather!

Being an Italian leather product, it is the finest leather, beautifully finished and  stitched -- in fact, so good is it that it evokes the finest English leatherwork -- of Rolls Royces and Edward Green shoes.

FontanaArte Odeon wall washer Studio Klass

Expanded Polystyrene is used again to form the main body of Yupik, designed for them by designers of the moment, Form Us With Love. Making lights out of wacky, disposable materials is a yawn-inducing student project usually, but for Yupik it really works. I think that is partly because of how well it is executed -- not just the body, but also the diffuser, which is a beautifully crafted, curved polycarbonate lens:

FontanaArte Yupick light by Form Us With Love

Nor is the expanded polystyrene body just a gimmick. The idea is that you can use this light in a variety of ways:

FontanaArte Yupick light by Form-Us-With-Love

You might tie it up loosely and occasionally use it as a torch:

FontanaArte Yupick light Form-Us-With-Love

in which case, the lightness, the resistance to scratching and being scratched -- even the warmth in the hand -- are all attractive features.

Ferréol Babin's Lunaire wall light is unusual in that the amount of light that it casts is directly affected by the user moving the centre part in or out, like a drawer -- a reworking of Carlo Forcolini's Light-Drawer for Oy Light. You can see the drawer both in and out here:

FontanaArte Lunaire wall light by Ferréol Babin

By making the whole applique round, rather than rectangular, it allows soft, elegant light effects whether the drawer is in...

FontanaArte Lunaire wall light by Ferréol Babin

or out:

FontanaArte Lunaire wall light by Ferréol Babin

The centre can be black or white.

After such revolutionary designs, Andreas Engesvik's Blom probably looks a bit conventional -- a jolly, colourful, table light:

FontanaArte Blom table light by Andreas Engesvik

Well, it is, but there is more to it than that. The colourful metal parts are like the petals of a flower, or cupped hands holding something precious:

woman-holding-a-sunflower-bloom-in-cupped-hands-chris-steinThey are also functional. They can be rotated to allow only uplight, or to allow light out on just one side:

FontanaArte Blom table light by Andreas-Engesvik

The only disappointment on the FontanaArte stand was The Albedo pendant light...

FontanaArte ALBEDO pendant light Studio-Drift

...which turned out to be by one of our all-time-favourite design teams, Studio Drift! (See our rave review of their Fragile Nature here.)

But this is not a tragic fall to earth -- rather, what we were seeing were prototypes .They are constructed by hand, from a very light material, in a series of panels that all come together at a single point, at the bottom.

Different versions looks better resolved at this exhibition held at the GEM museum of contemporary art in The Hague...

Studio Drift at GEM

...but the simpler Albedo will probably prove to be more satisfying when the design is  fully resolved.

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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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Very important news! FontanaArte have opened a UK warehouse!! Negligible lead times!!!

  FontanaArte Riga wall light

Yes, lights from arguably the finest collection in the entire industry are now available in the UK on extremely short lead times!

Not only have FontanaArte opened a warehouse here, but they will be keeping many of their items permanently in stock. Click on items in stock in UK to see which. Stock levels will vary as orders are fulfilled, of course, so it is still worth placing your order as soon as you can. They won't necessarily have large quantities either, so you will still need to let them know if you want a lot.

But this is a very exciting development. It does mean that if you need something special at short notice, we know where to look first.

The list includes the supremely useful Riga wall light (above) that comes in five lengths and four metal finishes. Not only is it good looking from the front, it also looks good from the side (which is what you see of wall lights when they are in corridors). Plus it is safe: it does not protrude far and, if you fall against it , its curved shape means that you will just slide off. If people see it, they specify it -- that's how effective it is.

There are the classic 20th century designs, like Pietro Chiesa's Luminator floor-standing  uplighter of 1933 -- a single spinning and so no seams...

Fontana Arte Luminator floor light

or Max Ingrand's Fontana of 1954, shade and illuminated base switchable separately...

FontanaArte Fontana table light

...or exciting contemporary designs like Yumi:

FontanaArte Yumi floor light

This will be an easy initiative to support since it confers such a practical benefit for UK-based projects.

 

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