Shaping Light through Color and Shadow

In 1968 Albano Poli formed Poliarte, an Italian lighting company that produced objects of light. From 1968 to 1979, Poli produced his lighting in a factory building at Via Orti Manara in Verona, with about thirty-five craftsmen. He designed table lamps, sconces, chandeliers, standing lamps and wall panels. Each lamp was created and assembled by hand in production runs numbering from as few as a single example to hundred.

Beginning around 1970, Italian lighting designers began expanding the scope of traditional approaches using new materials and new forms. Poli was intent on experimenting with how light brings out the beauty of glass in all its forms. For example, the same light source reflects differently through a thin piece of sheet glass than through a rough cut piece of raw glass, thus creating different shades of light and illuminating the beauty of different qualities in the glass itself. Poli, originally trained in classical stained glass artistry, was reinventing the stained glass window to create three-dimensional lighting objects. He worked in two distinct styles: the modular composition of different glass elements, such as plates, cubes, rods and a rougher, more “brutal” use of metal and glass fastened together. The overarching purpose was to expose the beauty within the glass as revealed by light. - Frank Rogin

In the second half of the 1960s, I created Poliarte in order to produce artistic and innovative lamps to be introduced into the furniture design market. I was determined to make unique lamps that could shape light through colors and shadows. These compositions, mainly in metal and glass, were able to transform a simple light bulb into a source of brightness and create an environment made of original shapes and transparencies, capable to interact with the viewer himself.

—Albano Poli, 2012