Milan 2013: what is Baccarat doing?

Baccarat Campana bros galaxia and cosmo pendant light Nave and Amuleto table lights Good question. The short answer is emulating where Venini were two years ago -- even working with the same people. Above are two pendants (Galaxia and Cosmo) and two table lights (Nave and Amuleto) which were created by the Campana brothers after they were asked to come and play with some existing Baccarat designs and components. The result was the Fusion series which brings together "French Art de Vivre and Brazilian force of nature" -- cut crystal with wicker and bamboo, basically.

What do you think? Do you want to rush out and buy one?

One result that was interesting is the Fusion version of the classic Zénith chandelier...

Baccarat Zenith Fusion chandelier by FERNANDO and HUMBERTO CAMPANA which crystal arms have been replaced by bamboo arms. But how interesting is it really? Surely the different properties of the materials could have been brought together in a new design that would have been beautiful... interesting...challenging...?

Louise Campbell also had a go at a Zénith. This is her Nervous Zénith:

Louise Campbell Nervous Zenith chandelier Baccarat

It is a one-off. She went to the factory, got some wonky bits made (you can see some angled alberts hanging down at the bottom), added an extra light at the top. And a candle... But to what end?

For some reason, Baccarat do not seem to be getting the best out of the designers they are working with. This is particularly true with Philippe Starck, who asked for a black Zénith a few years ago justifiably to great acclaim, but who now seems to be just taking the piss. He has riffed again on the Zénith to create one version with antlers added (Zénith sur la Lagune) and this one, Zénith le samedi, that has a LED-lit cable running through it:

etrange zenith le samedi chandelier Baccarat Philippe Starck


One explanation is that Baccarat want to update their existing designs.

Jean Marc Gady has created a Lady Crinoline Comète by simplifying Crinoline and hanging three together (there are single and double versions also):

Lady Crinoline Comete Baccarat pendant light

which is the first of the lights we've looked at here which is likely to be bought in any numbers. But then he tries a LED version:

Baccarat Lady Crinoline Comete LED pendant light

This just isn't good enough. Maybe the LEDs have to be few centimetres above the crystal but surely  something more elegant (or ironic? or witty? or something?) to mount them in could have been devised? If not, the idea should have been parked.

Thank goodness for Philippe Nigro. He has created this pretty little Clochette that can be hung singly or in clusters:

Clochette pendant light Baccarat Philippe Nigro

and a crystal lantern (there are not many of those!) with a hook on top called Céleste, that can stand on a table or be hung up:

Baccarat lantern  Celeste by Philippe Nigro

Here are examples of both lit up:

Baccarat Philippe Nigro Clochette pendant lights and Céleste crystal lantern

Somebody at Baccarat must have realized that people might think that the Company has lost the plot, so the first exhibit, in a room all of its own , with mirrored black walls, was a magnificent 64-light Zénith, with hurricane shades added;

Zenith 64 light crystal chandelier Baccarat

Or maybe they remembered that two years after Venini were doing the same thing -- getting the Campana brothers to play with bits of their glass and exhibiting the results in a nearby palazzo -- they seem to have given up on new lighting altogether.

You are probably thinking that I've been hard on Baccarat. It's more disappointment, of being let down, really. One of the greatest names in our world of fine lighting should be showing the way forward with creativity, self-confidence and generating excitement. Instead, they are marking time -- fatal, surely, in the current economic climate.


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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.


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.


Atelier Areti EDIT, La Pelota, Via Palermo 10

Innermost EDIT

Kalmar EDIT

EDIT's web site:


Lee Broom Spazio Pontaccio, Via Pontaccio 18

Nendo Spazio Pontaccio

Roll & Hill Spazio Pontaccio

Spazio Pontaccio's web site:

Foscarini Via Pontaccio 19

Memphis Spazio Understate, Viale Francesco Crispi 5/b, corner of Via Varese

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

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

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.)


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

Artemide showroom, Corso Monforte 19

Baccarat Palazzo Morando, Via Sant’Andrea 6,en,sc.html

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

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

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

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

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

Luceplan showroom, Corso Monforte 7

Venini showroom, Via Monte Napoleone 9

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’

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:

Lasvit Via Gaspare Bugatti 15

Moooi Via Savona 56

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

Contemporary Japanese Design Via Volhera 4

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

Catellani & Smith Casa della Luce, Via Ventura 5


Woka Vienna Design Week, Via Privata Oslavia 17

Lobmeyr Vienna Design Week

Vienna Design Week in Milan web page:



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

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 ( 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)

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:


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

Sander Mulder MOST

Brokis MOST

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)

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

Windfall Palazzo Durini, Via Santa Maria Valle 2 -- Metro Missori (M3)

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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Gae Aulenti died on Wednesday

Martinelli Luce Gae Aulenti Pipistrello 1965 Gae Aulenti died on 31 October after a long illness. There will obituaries everywhere that draw our attention to the work that she did, particularly with museums, for example: the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco; the conversion of the Palazzo Grassi in Venice; and, in Paris, the contemporary art gallery at the Pompidou Centre and the Musée d'Orsay:

Musee d'orsay paris

She was one of the first female architects to be awarded such prestigious projects.

See the obituary in the British Daily Telegraph here.

From our point of view, though, we were particularly aware of the spectacular glass art pieces that she designed for Venini. For example, Geacolor...

Venini Gae Aulenti Geacolor art glass

...a wonderful demonstration of her abilities as a designer and of the skills of the Venini glass workers. It bursts with colour and life. As with a Jackson Pollock, the energy used to bring it into existence (the maestro throws layers of coloured glass at it, very carefully, so each Geacolor is unique) is manifest.

The supplier of ours with whom she had the longest association, however, is FontanaArte, for whom she was Art Director from 1979 to 1996.  You can read their tribute to her here.

In 1980, she designed the coffee table with wheels (Tavolo con Ruote) for them...

tavolo con ruote for fontana arte gae aulenti

... and in 1993, she did a dining table version. Chasing the table round the room during dinner parties certainly breaks the ice!

Tour table FontanaArte Gae Aulenti

But the interest of Fine Lighting News readers is in her lights.

Only last week, I was talking to FontanaArte's Business Development Manager at Interieur Kortrijk and he identified Parola as one of his favourite lights in their collection. Here is the table version from 1980:

Parola table light Gae Aulenti FontanaArte

It is one of those designs that does not shout at you. It sits there quietly whilst you look at it and realize that there is nothing that should be changed -- every angle, every finish, the relationship between the parts, its functionality -- perfect. There is a floor version, Parolona:

Parolona floor light Gae Aulenti FontanaArte

and a wall version:

Parola wall light Gae Aulenti FontanaArte

Also in the current FontanaArte catalogue is Giova of 1964. It is a light that you can put plants into, or leave empty as light sculpture:

fontanaarte table light gae aulenti giova

She also designed Patroclo for Artemide. The diffuser is clear blown glass inside an irregular rhomboid metal frame:

Patroclo table light Gae Aulenti Artemide

But this post is headed up by her most iconic light -- one of the great lights of the 20th century -- Pipistrello (like the bat) of 1965 for Martinelli Luce:

Pipistella floor light table light gae aulenti fontanaarte

It is big (H66cm Ø55cm) and can be made even bigger, to H86cm -- the stem extends. The result is a light that has a massive personality -- it functions as a sculpture, not just as a light.

Martinelli Luce Pipistrello Gae Aulenti set

You can download the full datasheets here: Martinelli Luce Gae Aulenti Pipistrello datasheet.

Gae Aulenti (born Gaetana Aulenti):  4 December 1927 to 31 october 2012.

 gae aulenti



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Venini's Poliedri chandeliers

Venini poliedri chandelier Paolo Scarpa In our post last week about Venetian glass triedri and and quadriedri, we used the term "poliedri" as a generic term to cover them both (and other similar shapes). A poliedro -- polyhedron, or πολύεδρον -- is a three-dimensional solid that has a nonspecific number of  flat faces and straight edges. The dodecahedron that we looked at in the post about Adolf Loos's Knize lantern is a polyhedron.

However, a timely post in the online magazine Murano Glass (to which you should subscribe if you are at all interested in Murano glass or Venice more generally), called Not Only Murano Wine Glasses!, reminds us that Poliedri, with a capital P, has a very specific meaning.

It is used to refer to chandeliers and other lights made by Venini in the '50s and '60s out of a specific hollow glass shape. Here is a close-up picture of some...

Venini poliedri

...and here's a diagram:

Venini poliedri diagram

The two photos above show that they can come in wide variety of colours (this is Venini, after all!), of varying intensity and uniformity. Best of all, though, they can (to a greater extent even than triedri and poliedri) be assembled into the widest range of possible shapes.

The image at the head of this post is of a chandelier, Ø90cm, designed for Venini by Paolo Scarpa. Here's something much bigger! It was designed by Carlo Scarpa for the Veneto region pavilion at the Expo Italia Fair in Turin in 1961:

Venini Carlo Scarpa Padigliione Veneto Expo Italia 61 Turin

And this is even bigger still -- an arrangement of Poliedri for the Hotel Meridien Athens, making good use of colour to emulate clouds -- that could go on for ever (it is actually about 330 sq m):

venini poliedri long

But you can use the Poliedri to make smaller things. A wall light, for example:

Venini Poliedri applique

or perhaps an arrangement like this:

Venini poliedri Hotel Gallia 2007

There are no Poliedri items in Venini's current catalogue of ArtLight. However, their contract division will create something fabulous -- and site-specific -- for you. The arrangement above was done in 2007 for the Hotel Gallia in Milano Marittima (Ravenna).

For inspiration, for a testament to what they can do -- and for great pictures of Murano Glass lights! -- you can find out more about their contract and project work here.

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Milan 2012

Produzione Privata table lightThis being an even-numbered year, there is no Euroluce attached to the Milan Furniture Fair (they have the kitchen show, EuroCucina, instead). The rules of the main Fair forbid lighting stands, so the only lights you'll see there are dressing furniture stands. On non-Euroluce years, the lighting community gathers in Frankfurt, for Light+Building (for which I have one of my fair guides half-written but, as a result of the death of my father, I may not be able to complete or issue it).

HOWEVER, there are lots of exciting lights being shown in Milan itself during the time of the Fair, both at the showrooms that Italian lighting makers have there, and in all sorts of other spaces. No interiors event has the buzz -- the parties! -- of Milan during the week of the Furniture Fair!

We are highlighting here some of the lighting destinations in Milan that you should not miss. There is no definitive list of who will be where, so I'll update this post if I hear of any other worthwhile destinations. But, as always, pick up the Interni guide when you arrive.

I am only too used to the expressions on the faces of Britons when I point out that, for over 100 years, the world's top designers and architects have been designing lights -- striving to create the most beautiful, the most fascinating, the most effective, sometimes the most challenging, pieces they can. Nevertheless, it is true, and the best place to experience this is in the Brera district of Milan, at Via Varese 15, where the studio of Michele de Lucchi is. Besides being one of the world's most illustrious architects, he is also a leading designer of lights.  His portfolio includes several designs for Artemide, including Tolomeo and LED net -- currently the most enquired about light in all the Architonic Virtual Showrooms.

But for a balanced, creative existence he has his "private production", Produzione Privata, that allows him contact with craftsmen and materials without the same level of commercial pressure.  This is run from the studio, which is where they stage their exhibition during the Salone del Mobile. The light at the head of this post is a new design being launched this year. I can't think of anything that works quite as this one will: an uplighter, but decorative -- the glass will also be lit by the edge of the cone of light. It is part of an exhibition called Sostare Penzolando (Standing and dangling).

So they are must-see. Who else is?

FontanaArte arguably still has the finest collection of 20th century designs of any lighting company but they have lost their way in recent years. So we are delighted that, strengthened by recent changes in ownership, they are announcing for Milan and Frankfurt that "something new is back!".

"FontanaArte takes part in the most important international lighting fair where it will show its new products and release a new edition of its historical products designed by those architects who have played key roles in the company’s success over 80 years of history."

So you should see mouth-watering additions to their collection of vintage lights, at the Casa degli Atellani, Corso Magenta, 65 and no doubt at their excellent showrooms (where the whole collection can be seen) at Via Santa Margherita 4.

Maybe the biggest splash will be made by the English! Tom Dixon is creating MOST at the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia, Via Olona 6B, with our favourite design blog, dezeen, which is setting up their Design Studio "powered by Jambox". The space is being furnished by Tom Dixon to resemble Andy Warhol's Factory, and there will be lots of groovy stuff happening -- see also this post from dezeen. It will be a chance to see Tom Dixon's new Fin Light and Etch Web, about which we have posted recently. Delightfull will be there too -- see our recent Delightfull posts.

Venice's two greatest brands will, as always, be putting on spectacular shows. Barovier & Toso will be in the Orto Botanico di Brera, creating The Secret Garden with Paola Navone, Citco and Zaha Hadid.  Venini have not yet let on what they are going to do but, whatever it is, you won't want to miss their showroom at Via Monte Napoleone 9.

Not to be outdone, Baccarat is putting on an exhibition at the Palazzo Morando, Via Sant'Andrea 6.

Meanwhile, MGX and FOC will be showing more ground-breaking pieces made using rapid-prototyping technologies. MGX will show a trio of Algue.MGX lights by Xavier Lust [sic] as part of the Perspectives exhibition at the Triennale. Meanwhile, FOC will be at the Dream Factory in the Brera district -- Corso Garibaldi 117.

FOC Milan 2012The exhibited items that will have travelled furtherest will David Trubridge's, from New Zealand. Normally, David himself comes too, but not this year (he'll be in New York at the Wanted Design show, that is concurrent with ICFF). His absence is for a good reason, though; distribution in Europe has now been sorted out, CE-certified versions are becoming available, and more pieces are being shipped as kit sets. So do take this opportunity to see current favourites, plus some new suprises! Via Madonnina 12.

Talking of CE certification, we try to bring to your attention those very few north Amican lighting companies who do create international versions of their lights. This means that you can specify them knowing them to be safe and legal. So we are delighted to point you to Spazio Pontaccio (Via Pontaccio 8) where you will see pieces by the exciting young New York City-based Roll & Hill. There will be new designs by the company's founder, Jason Miller, as well as by the justifiably very fashionable Lindsey Adleman and Rich Brilliant Willing.

Do not forget the brand-specific lighting showrooms in Milan. Besides FontanaArte and Venini (referred to above):

Artemide Corso Monforte 19 and Via Manzoni 12

Flos Corso Monforte 9

Luceplan Corso Monforte 7


Catellani & Smith will be at the Casa della Luce, Via Ventura 5

Foscarini will be at Superstudiopiu'

Pallucco will be at Via Tortona 37 Block 2H.12-21

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