Vico Magistretti was a renowned Italian designer who worked in different domains, from product design to interior architecture. However, he is particularly famous for his contributions to the world of lighting design. His creations, characterized by minimalist yet elegant lines, have become icons of contemporary Italian design. Oluce, one of the oldest lighting companies in Italy, has been collaborating with Magistretti since the 1970s, producing some of his most notable pieces. This article aims to provide an overview of Vico Magistretti’s work and its influence on Oluce’s production, emphasizing the unique features that characterize this remarkable partnership.
Vico Magistretti – A Brief Biography
Vico Magistretti was born in Milan in 1920. He was the son of the famous architect Piero Portaluppi, who introduced him to the world of design. After graduating in architecture at the Polytechnic of Milan, he started working as a designer, mainly dealing with furniture and lighting. Throughout his long and prolific career, Magistretti received numerous awards, including the prestigious Compasso d’Oro, which he won four times. He was also a passionate educator, teaching in various design schools in Italy and abroad.
Magistretti’s work is distinguished by its simplicity, functionality, and attention to detail. He combined traditional craftsmanship with new technologies, creating innovative solutions for daily life. His design approach was strongly influenced by the Bauhaus principles of objectivity and rationality, which he blended with a touch of Italian elegance.
Oluce – A Historic Italian Lighting Company
Oluce was founded in 1945 in Milan, at the end of the Second World War. The company’s main aim was to produce lamps for the home and office, using the latest technologies and materials available. Oluce quickly became a leading player in the Italian lighting industry, thanks to its innovative designs and quality production.
Since the 1950s, Oluce has collaborated with some of the most outstanding Italian designers, such as Joe Colombo, Marco Zanuso, and of course, Vico Magistretti. Magistretti’s first piece for Oluce was the iconic Atollo lamp, designed in 1977. The Atollo soon became Oluce’s bestseller, attracting worldwide attention due to its innovative shape and versatile functionality. The collaboration between Magistretti and Oluce continued for many years, during which they produced several other iconic pieces, such as the Sonora and the Lester lamps.
Vico Magistretti’s Most Notable Lighting Designs
Magistretti’s contribution to the world of lighting design is extensive, both in terms of quantity and quality. His lamps stand out for their simple and essential lines, which give them a timeless elegance. Here are some of his most notable creations:
The Atollo Lamp
As mentioned earlier, the Atollo lamp is perhaps the most famous of Magistretti’s designs for Oluce. Its simple yet distinctive shape is instantly recognizable, making it a true icon of Italian design. The Atollo is composed of a conical base and a hemispherical shade, which intersect at a sharp angle. The lamp is available in different sizes and finishes, making it suitable for any environment, from domestic to public spaces.
The Sonora Lamp
The Sonora lamp is another masterpiece of Magistretti’s collaboration with Oluce. Its elongated shape, inspired by the sound waves emitted by a speaker, gives it a sleek and modern look. The lamp consists of a cylindrical shade, made of satin-finished blown glass, and a flexible stem, which allows the user to adjust the angle of light. The Sonora is available in two versions, table and floor, and in different colors, including silver, gold, and white.
The Lester Lamp
The Lester lamp is a more recent design by Magistretti, created in collaboration with the lighting manufacturer Artemide. Its originality lies in the use of LED technology, which allows the lamp to emit a warm and diffused light, without consuming too much energy. The Lester is composed of a circular base, from which a thin stem emerges, holding a circular disc, which works as a diffuser. The lamp is available in different versions, including floor and pendant, and in two sizes.
The Legacy of Magistretti and Oluce
The collaboration between Vico Magistretti and Oluce has lasted for over four decades, producing some of the most iconic pieces of Italian lighting design. Magistretti’s vision of combining functionality with elegance has perfectly matched Oluce’s commitment to technological innovation and quality production. The result is a collection of timeless lamps, which have become symbols of Italian design excellence.
Today, Oluce continues to rely on the legacy of Magistretti, promoting his designs to new generations of customers all over the world. The company has also expanded its collaboration with other outstanding Italian designers, maintaining its position as a leading player in the lighting industry.
Vico Magistretti’s contribution to the world of lighting design is undeniable, and his collaboration with Oluce represents one of the most fruitful and long-lasting in the history of Italian design. Their partnership has produced some of the most iconic lamps of the last century, which have become part of the cultural heritage of Italy and the world. Magistretti’s minimalist and elegant approach to design perfectly matched Oluce’s mission of producing innovative and qualitative lighting solutions. Their legacy lives on in the form of timeless and functional luminaires, which continue to inspire new generations of designers and enthu