SERGIO MAZZA & GIULIANA GRAMIGNA | MAGNOLIA LAMP

by Vanna Villa

Italian designer Sergio Mazza is known for his plastic design and lighting design, as well as his contribution to the Italian lighting design sector made through Artemide, the world-renowned lighting company he co-founded in 1960.

 

Mazza was born in 1931 in Milan and studied architecture in Lausanne. After graduating in 1954, Mazza opened his own studio. In 1960, he co-founded Artemide with engineer and designer Ernesto Gismondi (born in San Remo, 1931). Their goal was to produce timeless and technically-innovative products. Mazza designed the company’s first successful product, the Alfa Lamp (1959), which incorporated natural and manmade elements of glass, marble, and metal.

 

Mazza continued to contribute to Artemide’s ever-evolving collections over the following decades, including fiberglass molded seating and other home furnishings for Artemide throughout the 1960s, which were produced for a short period time, and are highly sought after by collectors today. He also spearheaded the company’s mission to develop distinctive, architecturally-driven lamps, pendants, and other fixtures in collaboration with major design talents from around the world. Notable designs include the Delta Lamp (1963), Mida Armchair (1966), Bacco Bar (1967), the stacking Toga Chair (1968), which is made from one continuous piece of fiberglass and was first shown at the International Furniture Exhibition in Milan in 1969.

 

In 1961, Mazza split from Gismondi, and along with the architect, Giuliana Gramigna opened their Milan-based label Studio Smc. Together they designed the Magnolia lamp and other furniture and other products for Arflex, Artemide, Cinova, Formica, Krupp, Poltrona Frau, Quattrifolio, Saporiti, and Valenti. From 1966 until 1988, Mazza was the co-director of Ottagono, a magazine which played a significant role in supporting contemporary Italian design culture. In 1967, Mazza began designing for the Italian industrial company Olivari.

 

Over the course of his illustrious career, Mazza received many honors and awards including a silver medal for his Appartamento Italiano at Milan’s 10th Triennale exhibition in 1954, and a Compasso d’Oro for the Delta Lamp in 1960. A model of his Toga Chair is housed in the V&A Museum in

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