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Bright Spark: Gino Sarfatti

Posted on April 12 2017

Designing more that 600 lamps and light fittings in his lifetime, Gino Sarfatti is one of the greatest Italian lighting designers to ever have lived. Born in Venice in 1912 before moving to Genoa to enroll in the Faculty Of Aeronaval Engineering, he founded his own company, Arteluce (now owned by Flos Lighting) in 1939.

Presented with awards such as the Grand Prix at the X Triennale and the ADI Compasso d'Oro for his designs, it's unsurprising that the company's flagship store became a centre of international attention. There's no ignoring how much of an innovator Gino Sarfatti was within the world of luxury lighting and luxury design.

And it wasn't just design he excelled at, it was business. Linking design and manufacture with retail production, export operations, and a huge number of large scale projects, Gino Sarfatti placed Arteluce at the forefront of the lighting industry, paving the way for all the different brands and characters that would follow.

Gino Sarfatti sold Arteluce, to Flos Lighting in 1973, before retiring to his house in Griante on Lake Como. This is was a legacy Flos Lighting couldn't just let sit on a shelf. And so Flos Lighting elected to undertake a project they named "Re-lighting Sarfatti".

The challenge Flos Lighting faced was in detracting nothing from the integrity of the lamps' original forms, while bringing these objects into the present day. Adopting cutting edge LED technologies with the utmost sophistication and care to avoid being invasive, Flos 're-lit' these designs for contemporary use.

It was a long and complex endeavour, but Flos Lighting succeeded in repurposing these designs with all the function and finesse of the originals, updated for twenty-first century use. The launch of this collection was celebrated with a cocktail party attended by members of the Sarfatti family, friends, admirers, collectors, and artists.