Produzione Privata's really helpful new web site

Produzione Privata Acquatinta pendant light

This light is Acquatinta, from Produzione Privata.

For many people, that information, plus dimensions, price and lead time, is all they want to know.

But supposing your client would like to know who designed it and why, and who made it…maybe they don’t want anonymous blobs in their home, or bar, but are interested in the backstory, the history, the provenance.

The new web site from Produzione Privata goes further than any other in taking such interest seriously. This is because they do.

Which benefits you too, by the way, because knowing a bit more about Acquatinta gives you more to say when discussing it with a client.

Produzione Privata Acquatinta pendant lights in Berlin

So, on this page, the luminaire is discussed and there are the images and technical information you need.

You can also download a 3D .dwg file.

This is a blog post that goes into detail about the Acquatinta family: how the design was conceived; the nature of the glass; the “silent poetic nudity. It was the first light designed and conceived to show the technical components required for its primary function”. It then looks at the issues raised by each of the typologies (wall, suspension) and the various versions. The original is on the right, the smaller Acquamiki is in the middle and the wall version is called Acquaparete:

Produzione Privata Acquatints, acquamiki and acquaparete

It includes a reminder that how a luminaire casts its light, and how the appearance of it changes when lit, are important considerations for any designer of light fittings. 

Produzione Privata Acquatinta pendant light options

But who actually makes the Acquatintas? There is a page on the web site that looks at glass, why Produzione Privata use it, and in which designs. Then, each of the four glass companies is identified and shown on a map (of Italy, note).

However, the biggest story is who designs them. They are the “private production” of Michele de Lucchi; not only one of the World's greatest living architects, but a prolific designer in other fields, particularly lighting, usually for Artemide – his immortality would be assured even if he had only ever done one thing: designed Tolomeo, probably the most successful quality light of all time. Produzione Privata allows him to operate independently of normal commercial pressures, and to work directly with materials and with skilled craftspeople. What something is made of, and who makes it, is essential to him, which is why due credit is given on the web site. There is also a web site dedicated to him.

Michele De Lucchi

In spite of the amount of information on the new Produzione Privata web site, it is also easy to use.

It works fine at your desk but also adapts to tablet and smartphone screens.

Produzione Privata web site on a tablet and a phone

If you just want the key info on a product quickly and clearly, click on the Products tab.

If you are interested who makes the Produzione Privata pieces, go to “Artisans & Laboratories”:

Produzione Privata artisans and laboratories

3D DWG files are available from each product page, or you can download the complete 3D library via this page:

Produzione Privata web site

There is lots more in the News, Video and Blog sections, plus Michele De Lucchi’s concept behind Produzione Privata

Michele De Lucchi blackboard

Finally, do spare just a minute for this cute little video.

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Produzione Privata during the Milan fair

Produzione Privata is the “private production” of Michele De Lucchi. Being one of the world’s greatest living architects, and based in Milan, he has been quite busy recently, as you may imagine!

He is one of the Ambassadors for Expo Milano 2015 (see here) and his Pavilion Zero there won the Wallpaper* Design Award for Best Building Site [sic] (see here)

For the Salone del Mobile Workspace 3.0 pavilions, he has created “The Walk”, dedicated to his vision of the workspace of tomorrow (see here).

In addition, inter alia, he was named A&W Designer of the Year at this year’s IMM Cologne (see here).  

As if that wasn't enough, he has also been entrusted with the creation of “Venice waterfront”, a vast and crucially important new 90,650m2 area at Porto Marghera (i.e. on the mainland, opposite Venice) that is being developed by the Società Italiana per Condotte d'Acqua SpA, to be used for trade fairs, large events, retailing and office spaces (see here).

But, to us, in our little World of Lighting, he is the designer of the iconic Tolomeo task light, and many other important luminaires for Artemide and other brands.

His Produzione Privata allows him to develop designs away from harsh commercial realities, so the collection is for connoisseurs.

He sent us the PDF of the new catalogue yesterday and, well, all I can say at this stage is, go and see the two new pendant lights made of wood, that are playfully derived from architectural references (you’ll see what I mean….), as well as some wonderful introductions from 2014, such as the Chapeau pendant, shown at the top of this post, and the Touché pendant... 

...a design that also makes a super, usefully high, slightly art déco, table light

(that is Michele De Lucchi himself demonstrating how to use it).

The collection is not just made up of lighting, of course. There is the chair shown at the foot of this post, for example, and here is one of the new Marianne vases (the medium sized):

Produzione Privata do not show out at the fair. Instead, come and see the collection on the ground floor of Michele De Lucchi’s studio at Via Varese, 15, to the north of the Brera district – and handy for Corso Como 10!

Michele De Lucchi Milan 2015 details
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Marc Sadler pays homage to Michele de Lucchi

Jamaica pendant light by Marc Sadler for Foscarini In the beginning (well, 2007), Michele De Lucchi created Giona for his own brand, Produzione Privata. Who would have thought that it was still possible to come up with a completely new way to use lampshades!

Produzione privata michele de lucchi giona pendant light

A year later, he created Noto for Artemide:

Artemide Michele De Lucchi Noto pendant lightThis is watered down version of Giona: it is now just drum shapes -- maybe still shades, but not as overtly so. The combination of sizes, and the red end, do add a sense of motion (in this image, from right to left). The result is more commercial, though not very! It is a design for people interested in design and/or lighting.

With Jamaica for Foscarini, Marc Sadler completed a transition from lamp shades to rolls of paper:

Jamaica pendant light by Marc Sadler for Foscarini 2

The purity of the conception is somewhat diluted, however, because the paper rolls are interrupted by a fluorescent tube -- the light source is under the paper rather than in the lamp shades. You can see it here:

Jamaica pendant light by Marc Sadler for Foscarini 3

and here it is, seen end-on:

Jamaica pendant light by Marc Sadler for Foscarini 4

The paper from which Jamaica is made is treated with a polymer to make it robust enough. The inspiration for the name? Dreadlocks.

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Float from Artemide by James Irvine, who died last night

James Irvine -- dezeen Sadly, James Irvine died last night at a hospital in Milan, where he had practised since graduating from the RCA in London in 1984, having gone there initially to act as a design consultant to Olivetti. He moved in the same circles as other design heroes of ours, such as Ettore Sottsass and Michele De Lucchi. He was to work with many of the world's great design-led brands, most recently Thonet and Muji.

There is a brief obituary to him on Dezeen here, that inlcudes this interview filmed in 2010.

Also sadly, for us, he did not create many lights. But he was responible for one of the finest, simple designs -- Float for Artemide.

There is a round ceiling version, Ø565mm H110mm:

Artemide Float soffitto circolare white

and a rectangular ceiling version, L1030mm or 1330mm, W230mm:

Coloured filters can be mounted at the back, in blue...

Artemide Float ceiling light circular blue

...or topaz:

Artemide Float circular ceiling light topaz

Both shapes are available as pendants. The circular version is one of the finest lights in this well-populated  classification -- nothing to be added or taken away:

Artemide Float pendant light by James Irvine

Here's the linear pendant...

Artemide Float rectangular suspension light by James Irvine

The pendant versions can also be fitted with coloured filters:

Artemide Float sospensione lineare james irvine

They have been in the catalogue since 2000. The best way to celebrate James Irvine's life, for those of us who did not know him personally, is to remember, appreciate and specify what he created.


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…if you are going for the first time.

Dates and Times

This year's Milan Furniture Fair, Il Salone Internazionale del Mobile, takes place between Tuesday, 12 April and Sunday, 17 April, from 09:30 to 18:30. The Sunday is a public day. Full details are available here.

Buying Tickets

You will save a huge amount of time if you buy your tickets in advance, which you can do here.


If you haven't booked accommodation yet, you will find it very difficult to find anything in Milan at a sensible rate, so you may have to stay in one of the surrounding towns. During the fair, hotels tend to impose minimum stays of seven or eight days. Many companies, therefore, book rooms for this period and box and cox, sending their staff to use them in relays. You may find that a company you know has a room which is not being used every night.

And you will need accommodation! Unless you know exactly which stands you want to visit, and there are not very many of them, you will not be able to do anything useful in just one day (and, anyway, you'd miss all the parties...).

Travelling to the Fair

For full details, go to the organizer's page on how to get to the Milan fairgrounds.

Milan's public transport is organized by ATM. There is an English language version of the ATM site. You can download a Milan city centre transport map, and a Metro map, from the bottom of this page.

Note that the station for the Fair -- RHO Fieramilano -- is outside the central fare zone, so you have to buy a more expensive ticket. Actually, I should say slightly less cheap ticket: Milan public transport is commendably good value. But you don't want to get stopped.

The fair ground

It is very big. It is arranged along a central spine. The dedicated metro station is at one end of the spine. Therefore, instead of everybody fanning out, as they are able to to do at Villepinte, for example, there is an almighty crush. So try to avoid arriving too early, when both the exhibitors and other visitors are trying to get in all at once.

There are two stories, with upstairs halls and downstairs halls. I point this out because first time visitors have been known not to find the upstairs halls at all, a situation not helped by the counter-intuitive numbering of the halls.

However, great news! There are good self-service restaurants on the mezzanine levels at the far end of the halls (i.e. the opposite end to the central spine). Since most people don't find these either, there are no queues and you can always get a table.


This is the biggest fair in the world for quality decorative lighting. It takes place every odd numbered year as part of the Milan Furniture Fair (in even numbered years , they have Eurocucina). This year, it takes place in four halls: 9, 11, 13 and 15. I will publish one of Cameron Peters Fine Lighting show guides, identifying the stands that we think you should visit, and explaining why.

Events In Milan

The formal fair can be Hard Work. The Fun is all over the city of Milan. That's where the parties are, and the spectacular displays from brands like Swarovski Crystal Palace (and this year, for the first time, Baccarat). It is also where companies that have a stand at the Fair to show their catalogue collection can let their hair down -- showing concepts in a disused warehouse, for example.

Although venues can be anywhere in Milan, there are concentrations -- for example, at the permanent showrooms around San Babila, and in what is now known as the Zona Tortona. This area has become such a zoo that the cool areas are becoming the Brera District (actually, always cool) and the Navigli -- the old canal district. We will be also publish a guide to lighting venues in Milan. Throughout the city, you will find piles of guides published by Interni, Abitare and others. None of them can be complete (they can only put in what they know about by their publication date), so pick up one of each.

Other Useful Sources of Information about Milan

The Milan edition of Spotted by Locals is a useful source of general information (including an iPhone app) that is, well, put together by locals. And, fortunately, there is a Time Out guide to Milan

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