Oluce and Joe Colombo, a successful partnership

The history of Oluce, the longest-running business in the designer lighting sector (founded in 1945), is connected to many names in design, but the first which comes to mind that of Joe Colombo.

In the 1950s the designer met Giuseppe Ostuni, Oluce’s founder. This meeting gave life to a healthy collaboration for the both of them and a genuine stylistic revolution in the sector.

Together with Joe Colombo, Oluce became a pioneering company in the field of research and experimentation in light sources. The designer would go on to create some of the most innovative lamps in the history of Italian design, which today have become genuine icons.

That’s why in the first chapter of the new book/catalogue “Joe Colombo. Designer. Catalogo raisonné 1962-2020”, published by Silvana Editore and edited by Ignazia Favata (Joe Colombo’s longtime assistant since 1968), could not go without Acrilica and Spider, Oluce’s signature pieces.

Acrilica was the absolute first project by Joe Colombo for Oluce, the only one jointly created with his brother Gianni. Created in 1962 with the simple name of Colombo 281, the model was later nicknamed Acrilica as an homage to its main material (Perspex) and its innovative use. Acrilica is a luminous and transparent wave which, attached to a metal base, emits an indirect and diffuse light on the table. It was a technical and aesthetic innovation especially for the time: the form and thickness of the body allow for the reflection of the fluorescent light bulb which remains hidden inside the painted steel base.

An undisputed “ace”, Acrilica won the gold medal at the XIII Triennale Milano in 1964. A few years later Spider, a new lamp designed by Joe Colombo in 1965, would go on to win the Compasso d’Oro in 1967. Today, Spider is also included in the ADI design Museum in Milan and has become a successful model for its sleek yet contemporary and functional design. Made up of a single light fixture and conceived as a response to a special horizontal spot light bulb, this light has a special melamine joint which, when mounted on various supports. creates floor, table, wall or ceiling models. It created the concept of a collection or “family” of lamps on its own.

Without a doubt, Oluce lamps are elements of décor which are capable of creating a dialogue across time and generations. This can be seen in this volume dedicated to Joe Colombo: a first catalog raisonné, as per the title, which collects over 200 projects and highlights works which have been in production for 50 years.

“Timeless pieces, such as the iconic Coupé created in 1967, which is now presented in a brand new compact version designed by, you know, Joe Colombo.

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