Design Masterworks 19 May 2016

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Gianfranco Fini

Programma wall light

New Lamp
Italy, c. 1970
stainless steel, methacrylate
41 w x 8½ d x 41 h in (104 x 22 x 104 cm)

estimate: $30,000–40,000

provenance: Private Collection, New York | Wright, Modern + Contemporary Design, 10 October 2006, Lot 523 | Private Collection, Chicago
literature: Light, Lamps 1968-1973: New Italian Design, Ferrari and Ferrari, fig. 102

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New Lamp

The Art of Lighting

New Lamp was one of the most innovative manufacturers of lighting in Italy at the end of the 1960s. Founded in Rome in 1968 by Mario Vento and his brother, Gianni, the small firm was briefly called Art Lamp, a name indicative of the works they would produce, before being renamed New Lamp. Working with artists, architects and graphic designers to develop original lighting designs, the company produced experimental lamps that were akin to works of art yet entirely functional designs.

Aside from Mario Vento who worked under a few aliases, Gianni Colombo, Rinaldi Cutini, Fabrizio Cocchia and Gianfranco Fini were among the designers creating new forms in lighting. The lights produced by New Lamp spoke to the future; the designs were inspired by artistic movements such as Kinetic Art and Concrete Art but they also referenced Art Deco forms. Handmade by local artisans and made of the highest quality to order, each New Lamp design was produced in small quantities — from singular, one-of-a-kind works and editions of five or six to more popular pieces in editions of no more than 100 examples.

In total, New Lamp created at least forty-five lamp models. Sparing no costs on craftsmanship or materials, New Lamp’s inventive and sculptural productions captured media attention and its lamps were featured in publications of the period including Domus, Abitare and Casa Vogue. Despite the enthusiasm for New Lamp, the company only lasted a few years closing in 1973 – 1974.

New Lamp designs featured in Domus, September 1971

The Programma light offered here was designed by Gianfranco Fini for New Lamp circa 1970. Like an illuminated work of art, reminiscent of pieces created by Julio Le Parc, Luis Tomasello, Jesús Rafael Soto, this wall-mounted design features numerous panels that can be opened and closed to create an infinite number of compositions. While the precise number of Programma lights produced was never documented, the design was one of the more expensive works by New Lamp and very few originals are known.