When it comes to contemporary lighting design, few brands manage to achieve the same level of success and recognition as Kartell. A global pioneer in the field of plastic furnishings, Kartell has been manufacturing high-quality, functional and aesthetically pleasing lamps for over 70 years, earning itself a reputation as a leader in modern lighting design.
This article will explore the history, design philosophy, and most iconic lamps of Kartell, with an emphasis on its most famous range of products – the Lamp family.
History of Kartell
Founded in 1949 by the Italian entrepreneur Giulio Castelli, Kartell began as a small workshop that produced plastic objects for the home. At the time, the company’s main focus was on creating everyday objects that could be mass-produced at an affordable cost. However, it was not until the 1960s that Kartell began experimenting with lighting design, starting with the release of its first lamp, the Fly.
The Fly lamp, designed by Ferruccio Laviani, was a revolutionary product in its use of a lightweight, transparent thermoplastic polymer material called PMMA, which allowed for a soft diffusion of light. The innovative design of the Fly lamp was a major turning point for Kartell, signaling a shift towards more ambitious and artistic lighting projects.
Design Philosophy of Kartell
Kartell’s design philosophy revolves around combining functionality with pure, minimalist aesthetics. They are not only concerned with creating functional objects but they also believe passionately in the beauty of simplicity. This is evident in their choice of materials, which are often transparent or semi-transparent, promoting a sense of lightness and space in objects that might otherwise be heavy or opaque.
Kartell’s designers have been given the freedom to experiment with new production techniques and materials, which has resulted in an impressive array of lamps and lighting systems. Their commitment to innovation and experimentation has resulted in a wide range of styles that are both forward-looking and timeless.
The Lamp Family
Central to Kartell’s lighting design is the Lamp family, which includes some of the company’s most iconic lamps. These designs embody the company’s design philosophy and are characterized by their simple, sleek shapes and light, transparent materials. Here are some of the most famous lamps of the Lamp family:
Designed by Ferruccio Laviani in 2004, the Bourgie lamp is one of Kartell’s most recognizable designs. Featuring a baroque-style base that is made entirely of transparent PMMA, the Bourgie provides a striking contrast to the pleated lampshade that graces the top. It is a triumph of classic and modern design, a true centerpiece of Kartell’s collection.
Another highly original creation, the Taj lamp was designed by Ferruccio Laviani in 2012. This lamp is almost invisible in its simplicity. It is made entirely of transparent polycarbonate, with a slightly curved shape that recalls the fluidity of a water droplet. The LED light source is integrated seamlessly into the design, allowing for a soft, even light that seems to emanate from within the lamp itself.
The Toobe lamp was designed by Ferruccio Laviani in 2007. A highly versatile design, this lamp is perfect for both indoor and outdoor settings. The simple cylinder shape of the Toobe is characterized by the use of transparent or colored PMMA, which allows the light to filter through in a stunning and simple way. It is this minimalist style that has made the Toobe a hallmark of Kartell’s lighting design.