How an icon is born: the Pipistrello lamp by Gae Aulenti for Martinelli Luce
In November 2019, one of the most interesting figures of international architecture passed away:was truly the flagship of Italian professionalism and globally brought her design vision, rigorous, evocative, playful, always class. Among his most resounding successes is the conversion of the Gare d’Orsay in Paris, and the setting up of the Orsay Museum which has taken its place. It was one of the very first industrial reconversion projects aimed at creating a museum but Aulenti proved to be up to the challenge, and able to keep the identity of the place intact and at the same time make it suitable for the use of art, and precisely for this project has become a school and has been followed by many other cases of industrial buildings transformed into museums. If the Gare d’Orsay is Gae Aulenti's most famous architectural project, his work in industrial design is equally interesting, just think of the table with wheels, for Fontana Arte. Among the projects dedicated to lighting, the perhaps most iconic and identifying one is the lamp, designed in 1965 for .
The challenge was to seize the moment immediately preceding the complete unfolding of the bat's wings and in an essential way, with a few strokes, Aulenti succeeds, giving the lamp a unique dynamic of its kind. Courageous and new, especially for the period in which it was conceived, Pipistrello evokes an unusual animal but in such a graceful way as to call into question the nocturnal and mysterious image that characterizes it.
After all, Aulenti has always been able to find the way to introduce innovation with a gentle decision. And in this lamp, innovation becomes cultured. The combination of the corrugated lamp holder with the telescopic stem, which can be modulated in height, unexpectedly refers to Art Deco, reinterpreted in a plastic key, as it later became in the 70s.
The merit of having first accepted the challenge of producing a lamp with such an innovative design and disruptive image, and then of having been able to successfully ferry it in its over fifty years of history, must certainly be recognized to the company, Martinelli Luce. By proposing different colors and improving technology, inserting a system to control the intensity and color temperature and proposing different formats, to bring the Pipistrello to any room in the house.
Today the Pipistrello lamp is proposed by Martinella Luce in three different sizes. Pipistrello, in its original height, adjustable from 66 to 86 centimeters, is a real sculpture of light, metal and methacrylate; Pipistrello Medium modular from 50 to 62 cm is extremely versatile;, 35 cm high, suitable even for the bedside table. In this latter variant, Pipistrello is also available in the precious rechargeable version, to be taken with you, for example, to the center of the table, or next to it for a reading session.
Among the latest variations made by Martinelli Luce, there is also the: modular in height from 66 to 86 centimeters, it is a floor lamp whose light is dimmable via bluetooth thanks to an application. Designed for a contemporary home, which marries technology.
Finally, for a collector icon, the 24k gold limited edition Pipistrello is available: designed in 2015, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the lamp, it is limited to 50 copies and numbered and has a gold-plated base.
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