Thursday, May 6, 2010


Italian architect, lighting/interior/ industrial designer, installation artist and theoretician Gae Aulenti (1927- ) is one of the few well recognized women working in Italy in the hotbed of postwar design. Formally trained as an architect at the Milan Polytechnic, Aulenti went on to do graphic design, serving on the editorial staff of the influential design magazine Casabella. She also served on the directorial board of the later Lotus International magazine. Aulenti made a name for herself with a broad spectrum of unfailingly elegant, innovative and exceptional work. Like many of her contemporaries, she designed a series of furniture throughout the 1960s for the department store, La Rinascente. She established a long and successful relationship designing furniture for Zanotta; two of her best known pieces for them are the 1964 "April" folding chair which was stainless steel with a removable cover, and her 1984 plate-glass "Sanmarco" table. Aulenti also designed for others including Knoll International, Martinelli Luce, Olivetti, Tecno and Artemide. Her vintage Pipistrello lamps for Martinelli Luce, in particular are a personal favorite. She is well known for several large-scale museum projects as well, including Musée d'Orsay conversion in Paris (1980-86), the Contemporary Art Gallery at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Palazzo Grassi in Venice (1985-86). Her works have won many awards. Her designs are sold at fine dealers and galleries.

related links:

images: (click on images to enlarge)
Pipistrello lamps for Martinelli Luce c1965 (top)
Marble cocktail table with cluster legs for Knoll (2nd)
Sanmarco table for Zanotta (3rd)
April folding chair for Zanotta (4th)
Musee d'Orsay conversion, Paris 1980-1986 (bottom)

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