Visions of Italian Design

For more than 20 years Ugo Alfano Casati has been bringing fresh and interesting modern and contemporary Italian design to market. From rare and custom works by Italy’s most notable architects to classic forms and more recent limited edition works from the most radical and forward thinking minds, Casati’s vision of Italian Design is one of quality, beauty and historical significance. 

An Italian himself, Casati grew up in Milan. He worked for Alessi and Bodum in Paris before relocating to Chicago where he opened Casati Gallery to bring Italian design to the American market. He focused on Italian designs of the post-war era to present day, developing relationships with artists, designers, foundations and archives, adding valuable context and introducing new scholarship in the field alongside his elegant offerings. 

In 2007, Casati and Wright teamed together to create a book dedicated to the designs of Angelo Mangiarotti. The award-winning publication, featured full-color images and was published in English and Italian introducing the innovative designer to the broader market. 

Casati’s interest in fine craftsmanship and originality soon grew to include emerging design and he began to produce editions by makers whose aesthetics complimented his Italian sensibility: Jonathan Nesci, Philippe Nigro, among others. 

This special curated auction celebrates Casati Gallery and marks the beginning of Casati Projects, a new phase for Ugo Alfano Casati who endeavors to bring renewed energy and experience to the field of Italian design through curatorial and consulting services for discerning collectors and institutions across the globe.

Gino Sarfatti 1912–1984

Born in 1912, Gino Sarfatti revolutionized the field of Italian lighting design. As a teenager, Sarfatti switched his field of study from classics to aeronautical engineering, later incorporating the scientific precision he learned from his engineering background into crafting his light fixtures. He opened his lighting atelier Lumen in 1935, which quickly gained popularity as a new voice in the field of lighting. Lumen advertised in the influential Italian design magazine Domus, and Sarfatti opened a showroom in the Via Verdi. However, in 1938, Sarfatti left Lumen and went on to found the firm Arteluce along with his wife Jolanda Marazza Sarfatti and architects Maurizio Bolchini and Franco Buzzi.

In 1940, Arteluce participated in the VII Triennale in Milan. Due to the bombings during World War II, Sarfatti moved the production of Arteluce from Milan to Albavilla. However, soon after moving production, he was forced into exile in Switzerland after facing persecution for his Jewish heritage. Following the end of WWII he gained recognition for his extraordinary work, returning to Italy and continuing his leadership of Arteluce. His lighting was showcased in the groundbreaking exhibit Italy at Work at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1950, which featured the work of 150 Italian designers and craftsmen.