Legendary Italian lighting manufacturer Artemide was founded in the Milan area in 1959 by engineer-designer Ernesto Gismondi (born in San Remo, 1931) and designer Sergio Mazza (born in Milan, 1931). Notably, the latter designed the company’s first successful product, the Alfa Lamp, a year prior to Artemide’s launch. 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.
Highlights from Artemide’s vast catalogue include Italian designer Vico Magistretti’s space-age Eclisse Lamp (1967) and German-Italian designer Richard Sapper’s minimal, halogen-lit Tizio Desk Lamp (1972), which has become one of the most popular workspace accessories ever produced. The 1980s saw the launch of the Tolomeo Lamp (1987), designed by Italians Michele De Lucchi and Giancarlo Fassina, which quickly became an international symbol of the “Made in Italy” style that dominated design tastes at the end of the last century. Today, Artemide continues to commission high-tech, high-concept works—increasingly with a focus on sustainability—from notable international designers, such as Herzog & De Meuron, Naoto Fukasawa, Karim Rashid, and Zaha Hadid, among others. Through the decades, many of Artemide’s lighting designs have been awarded the prestigious Compasso d’Oro, with the company itself receiving a “Career Achievement” award in 1995
For more than 50 years, Artemide’s approach has set the pace for design innovation with well-researched products that often end up in the pages of design history books. Numerous pieces have been acquisitioned into museum collections around the world, from New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art, to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnica in Milan, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.