On the English site Palainco, their online gallery of vintage lamps, Koos Logger (61) and Ingrid Stadler (57) characterize themselves with a pun as “seriously frivolous” – they are serious about light. The love is even so great that for six years now they have been working full-time searching for and offering special lamps that are at least thirty years old.
Stadler was a program creator at TV Rijnmond, Logger worked as a market research manager in an internationally operating company. Because of his work, the couple lived in Rome for five years and then in Moscow for three years. In Italy, people started collecting old designer lamps; in culture-rich Russia, people were amazed at the lack of historical awareness in design. That gave them the idea to start an online lamp gallery back in the Netherlands.
On Palainco.com they always offer about 175 sometimes very rare lamps for sale, mainly from Italian designers. Lamps that are not only in perfect condition – a condition of purchase, they say – but also provide them with historical information about the designer and manufacturer.
Logger and Stadler developed into self-styled design historians who regularly travel to Italy to interview (sometimes much older) lighting designers and report on them on their site. “Fortunately, we have an excuse to knock on their door,” says Logger. They consider research the most enjoyable aspect of their job.
Before placing special finds in the window of their digital gallery, gallerists often take the lamps into their homes. “We want to enjoy it ourselves for a while first,” says Stadler. The same applies to a number of lamps from the top ten, which the couple put together on request – only two of the selected lamps are now offering them for sale. It is a collection of experimental Italian table lamps from the late sixties, early seventies. An exciting and fertile time, they say, when society was in turmoil and designers eagerly experimented.
10 Amalia (1970)
Ivo Sedazzari for the brand Prisma
Ingrid Stadler and Koos Logger: “This pill-shaped lamp rests on a rubber ring. You can therefore place her upright or diagonally as you wish. When you open the top, the light shines directly down. A design of deceptive simplicity, with an almost perfect form that evokes Brancusi’s sculptures. Like almost all lamps in this top ten, this is more of an art object than a lamp where you can read a book or illuminate the living room well.
“We know little about Ivo Sedazzari. He designed at least three lamps and later began making jewelry for men in the 1970s. Jewelry as refined as this lamp.”
9 Lotus (1969)
Carlo Nason (1935) for AV Mazzega
“Carlo Nason comes from a family of glassblowers in Murano, the archipelago near Venice. The classic glass that made Murano world famous did not interest the young Nason much. He didn’t want to make chandeliers with frills, but modern lamps. This Lotus lamp consists of four pieces of opal glass blown into a mold with a blue molding. The layering creates gradations in the transparency and color of the glass: it seems as if the sun is reflecting in the water of the Venetian lagoon.
“Nason has designed a lot of lamps. But much is also erroneously attributed to him. When we interviewed Nason, we showed him pictures of dozens of lamps with his name listed online. He denied being the designer of the half. That’s a downside of the Internet: copy and paste nonsense keeps coming back.”
8 Cobra (1968)
Gabriele D’Ali (1934) for Francesconi
“In terms of design and execution, you can say that everything about this lamp is right. The cast iron base ensures a perfect balance. It has ingenious hinges and a beak-shaped swivel end with elongated openings that allow you to regulate the light intensity. There is really only one thing you can object to with this lamp: it gives off almost no light. More of an adjustable piece of art than a reading lamp, haha.
“Like Sedazzari, we only know three designs from D’Ali. There is also a floor model of this table lamp, and then he has made another table lamp. We know almost nothing about him. D’Ali was probably an architect and specialized in designing small sailboats that the buyer could assemble himself without special tools.”
7 Amalia (1970)
(Ivo Sedazzari for the Prisma brand)
“A sculptural lamp made from an unusual combination of materials. Light shines from a marble base on a cubic metal structure in which a sheet of Plexiglas is attached. The plastic sheet spreads a little diffused light, which at most defines the lamp’s space.
“The tulpa is more a work of art than design. A lamp that raises questions, for example about what space is. It has sometimes been described as a metaphysical design, a lamp that raises questions about what we cannot perceive, about life and death even.
“Like many other designers in this top ten, Claudio Salocchi was an architect. In addition to avant-garde lamps, he has also designed furniture.”
6 Medusa (1970)
Umberto Riva (1928-2021) for VeArt
“Two pieces of Murano glass blown in a mold are connected to each other. By highlighting the stitching, it is clearly part of the design. The lamp has a natural shape. Hard to say exactly what it represents. The name, Medusa, is the Italian word for jellyfish. The shape has something to do with it. Riva, a highly sought after architect, had a very unique working method. Without an emphatic point of departure, he continued endlessly until he arrived at something he was satisfied with. As a result, his designs are often incomparable and special.
“We would have liked to have spoken to him. We have left his voicemail several times. But it didn’t come from an interview, and unfortunately he died last year.’
5 Luna (1970)
Rinaldo Cutini (1937) for New Lamp
“Three folded discs of stainless steel are combined into a spherical body. When the bulb needs to be changed, you must unscrew the plates. Fortunately, we had filmed the dismantling; putting it together proved to be quite difficult.
“Luna is one of about thirty models from New Lamp, an exciting lamp factory founded in Rome in 1968, which only existed for a few years. With local craftsmen, New Lamp made experimental lamps in small series from high-quality materials, often designed by architects. These lamps are now highly sought after. This is probably the only lamp design by Rinaldo Cutini. We only know that he started out as a graphic designer. That information fits into this design.”
4 Cobra (1962)
Angelo Lelii (1915-1979) for Arredoluce
“Angelo Lelii was not only a fantastic lighting designer, but also an important entrepreneur. With his Arredoluce lamp factory, founded in 1947, he produced hundreds of special lamps. Own designs, but also lamps from, for example, Gio Ponti, Nanda Vigo and Ettore Sott-sass. Lelii was a perfectionist who had an eye for quality more than marketing, so business did not always go well for him.
“The Cobra, Lelii’s best-known design, is technically a particularly progressive design. One of the first lamps with an adjustable magnetic ball, so that the light can be directed correctly. The matching bulb with bayonet lock is specially designed for this lamp. The transformer for the dimmer was located in the marble base. Before 1962, these were revolutionary innovations.”
3 BT 2 (1972)
Gruppo ARDITI (1970-1977) for Nucleo Sormani
“BT 2. was one of the first low-voltage lamps, Bassa Tensione. Six steel wires come from a stainless steel box with plastic holders at the end with a bulb and a magnet. When these holders are clicked onto the metal base, closed electrical circuits are formed and the bulbs light up. The user decides for himself where he clicks on the holders, so that the steel wires form an ever-changing wire mesh.
“Gruppo ARDITI was a design collective that first emerged in 1970 with a satirical manifesto. In it, the members protested against the capitalist and consumerist tendencies of the design industry. 50 years ago this must have been an incredibly futuristic design. Now it is an object that still fascinates.”
2 Globo Tissurato (1967)
Ugo La Pietra (1938) for Zama Elettronica
“Ugo La Pietra is a jack of all trades: architect, designer, visual artist, filmmaker, musician, writer, teacher. This 70 centimeter tall luminous sculpture made of Plexiglas is extra special because the top sphere seems to float. How did La Pietra do? The cylinder is transparent, but dots have been applied to the balls. The light shines upwards through a reflector in the lower hemisphere: the dots catch the light, making it appear as if the upper sphere is floating.
“Globo Tissurato had a few technical innovations. It was the first lamp with a potentiometer to control the light intensity. In the first example, La Pietra also experimented with technology that allows the lamp to be turned on and off with sound.”
1 Molecule (1971)
Fulvio Ferrari (1945) for Solka B
“This lamp is designed for a garconniere, a love nest where men could receive their new girlfriend. The women were immediately impressed by this magical lamp. This is the explanation that the designer Fulvio Ferrari himself gave us. His lamp consists of a bundle of transparent glass rods with colored bulbs in the heart. In apartments with dark brown painted walls, fashionable at the time, the Molecola’s color splendor would do well, according to Ferrari.
“For his lighting designs, Ferrari set up a factory in 1970, called Solka B. With the help of a few part-timers – his father, a tram driver, a student, the wife of a migrant from the south and a welder who worked for Fiat – he made small series of about twenty to thirty models. He made only two copies of the Molecola. When we saw this lamp in the stock of an Italian dealer, we fell back: we had to have it. This lamp has been in our living room for years. Is she for sale? Only if MoMA in New York wants her.”