a man (gino sarfatti) smoking his pipe

Gino Sarfatti: the Mid-Century Modern light craftsman

Gino Sarfatti, bereft of formal education, had to improvise and create each item by working directly with the craftsmen. His re-interprations of traditional chandeliers in Mid-Century modern style are among his most iconic pieces.

Bio

Gino Sarfatti (born 16 September 1912, Venice, Italy–died 6 March 1985, Griante, Como, Italy) was an Italian businessman, light and lamp maker, and the founder of Arteluce, an Italian light manufacturer. He was born into a relatively wealthy family as his father, Riccardo Sarfatti, was a prosperous Jewish food trader, and his mother, Lucia Zuccoli, was from a prominent Trieste Catholic family. Gino moved to Genoa in 1930 to enroll in the Aeronaval Engineering Faculty. At 23, Gino Sarfatti interrupted his studies and moved to Milan, wherein 1936, in collaboration with Aldo Valcarenghi and Dino Mondolfi, formed the lighting company Lumen. Three years later, Sarfatti decided to part with his partners, and in February 1939, he formed Arteluce, his own light manufacturing company.

Style

Entirely self-educated, between the mid-1930s and early 1970s, he developed nearly 700-floor lamps, chandeliers, spotlights, and other “light fittings.” During this time, Sarfatti constantly experimented with new types of light sources, lighting, switches, reflectors, transformers, and other components to refine its designs as he founded the company to manufacture them. Bereft of formal education, he had to improvise and create each item by working in the workshop directly with the craftsmen, instead of sketching designs and leaving them to manufacture models or prototypes, as most other designers did at the time. By doing so, he entered into the practical complexities of lighting products. He was able to use that expertise to formulate more innovative ways to build specific lights and make the most of the excellent network of specialist suppliers and manufacturers in Italy. Arteluce’s business increased during the decade of the 1960s not only with its lighting home designs sold in Italy and abroad but also with its custom lighting designed for public buildings. Like other important Italian designers, Gino Sarfatti was involved in many interior design projects through Arteluce for the then rapidly growing Italian ocean liner industry.

Gino Sarfatti: Chandellier MODEL 2970/50
Gino Sarfatti: Chandellier MODEL 2970/50, courtesy Lumens

Masterpieces

MODEL 2970/50 (and the smaller 30 light version Model 2097/50) is Sarfatti’s reinterpretation of a traditionsl chendelier in Mid-Century Modern style. The chanderlier feature fifty (or thirty lights), arranged around a central steel column at the end of straight brass arms. The lights’ cords mimic the curves of a traditional chandelier. The chanderlier was originally designed in 1958 and still in production by the Italian manufacturer FLOS. >> Please click here to see current offers and pricing. <<

 

black chandelier with fifth bulbs designed by Gino Sarfatti in 1958
The Flos Model 2097/50 Chandelier, designed by Gino Sarfatti in 1958
picture of the black chandelier in elegant creamy white kitchen
Gino Sarfatti: Model 2097:50 Chandelier by FLOS courtesy of Lumens