Ernesto Gismondi

Milan, Italy

Italian designer and engineer Ernesto Gismondi is known for his contribution to the Italian lighting design sector made through Artemide, the world-renowned lighting company he co-founded in 1960.

Gismondi was born in 1931 in San Remo. He studied Aeronautical Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Milan, graduating in 1957, and obtained a second degree in Missile Engineering from the Professional School of Engineering in Rome in 1959.

In 1960, he co-founded Artemide with engineer and designer Sergio Mazza (born in Milan, 1931). Their goal was to produce timeless and technically-innovative products. Both founders went on to contribute designs to Artemide’s ever-evolving lines over the next several decades, alongside spearheading the company’s mission to develop distinctive, architecturally-driven lamps, pendants, and other fixtures in collaboration with major design talents from around the world. For Artemide he designed the Sintesi Series (1976), which included table lamps, floor lamps, clamp lamps, and sconces. Other notable designs include the Tholos Wall Lamp (1979), the Tebe Floor Lamp (1970s), and the Zen Floor Lamp (1988).

From 1964 to 1984, Gismondi taught engineering at the Polytechnic University of Milan. Sometime in the 1980s, Gismondi joined Ettore Sottsass’s influential and radical design collective, Memphis, providing financial backing and designing for the group.

Gismondi’s contribution to lighting design resulted in many awards and accolades, including the Compasso d’Oro Award for Career achievements in 1994, the European Design Prize in 1997, and the Ernst & Young Prize “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2008 and in 2009.  Notably, he was the vice president of ADI (Association of Industrial Design), and held a number of important positions within the design world, including at the Ministry for Universities and Research, as well as a  member of the Educational and Scientific Committee of I.S.I.A.