Milano 1946 – 1988
Stilnovo was a company founded by Bruno Gatta in 1946. Stilnovo is a significant part of the first wave of post World War 2 Italian design companies specialising in the production of innovative, functional lighting. Stilnovo was for sure one of the better quality manufacturers of its era.
At its most productive between 1950 and the late 80s, Stilnovo worked with a number of Italy’s leading designers after Bruno Gatta, Danilo and Corrado Aroldi, Gaetano Sciolari, Alberto Fraser, Joe Colombo and Ettore Sottsass did some impressive work. A contemporary of companies such as Fontana Arte and Arteluce, Stilnovo rose to prominence on the back of Italian design’s move away from small family orientated businesses to forming companies capable of producing industrialised, mass produced work.
Coming at a time when the idea of function was combined with new types of materials to produce pared and texturally novel forms, it was an era of experimentation, where the neo-realism movement tussled with the philosophy of organicism, and where architects borrowed from, subverted and discarded the artisan based craft-art that had for centuries been Italy’s dominant creative force. Often compared favourably with Arteluce, which, under the guidance of Gino Sarfatti, explored abstract, lineal forms, Stilnovo is known for its well executed organic lines. The Aroldi designed 1967 Periscope desk lamp is a case in point. Exhibited at New York’s New Domestic Landscape 1968, its snake-like lines are tempered by its enamel finish, creating an effect that is both restrained and alive.