Stephen Crafti caught up with Ernesto Gismondi at the Artemide showroom in Carlton on 24 November 2010.
December 8th, 2010
Ernesto Gismondi, founder and designer of Artemide Group, was in Australia to coincide with the opening of a new Artemide store in Surry Hills, Sydney.
The spritely 80 plus year old is still as passionate about lighting as he was when he founded the company with Architect Sergio Mazza in 1959.
Responsible for many iconic lights, including the Nesso, the Eclisse and the Alfa lights, Gismondi is as excited about future lighting designs as reflecting on past award winning designs.
“Have I talked about the Air Light Sound Object?” says Gismondi.
“It’s not just a light. It’s also an air conditioner, as well as creating sound,” he explains, scribbling a quick sketch in a notepad.
Gismondi sees colour as fundamental to lighting. As well as their range of white light, Artemide sees light in terms of colour, as broad as the sunset.
“We invented ‘Metamorfosi’ (a type of machine) in the 90s. We’re able to mix colours, blue, green and red, like an artist would use his palette.”
The ‘Nur’ light, designed by Gismondi, found an enormous audience, both internationally, as well as down under. “People here responded extremely favourably. Its success was its ability to create different atmospheres depending on the colours used.”
While architects today dabble in lighting, in the 60s Gismondi was responsible for bringing architects/designers and lighting together. And today, Artemide commissions some of the world’s leading architects, from Zaha Hadid to Ross Lovegrove, to come up with new concepts from lighting.
And while many espouse the words ‘form and function’, it’s the idea behind each new light that brings the company success (with Artemide lights in museums around the world).
“We’re always looking to what the market needs. There always has to be a great reason behind each design.”
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