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Gismondi with Discovery LED Wall and Ceiling Light

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Tolomeo Maxi

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Tizio Light

Artemide co-founder and president Ernesto Gismondi dies, aged 89

Published: 07 Jan 2021
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The Italian designer and engineer launched the world-renowned lighting company in 1960 and it is responsible for many iconic designs such as the 1972 Tizio desk lamp by Richard Sapper and the 1987 Tolomeo desk lamp by Michele de Lucchi.

Gismondi started Artemide with fellow designer and engineer, Sergio Mazza, and it strove to develop architecturally-driven lighting that stood out. In the 1980s Gismondi became part of the radical – and influential – Memphis design movement that shook up the design establishment.

Gismondi was born in 1931 in San Remo. He studied Aeronautical Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Milan, graduating in 1957, and obtained a second degree in Missile Engineering from the Professional School of Engineering in Rome in 1959; he was later an associate professor of Rocket Engines for Missiles at Milan Polytechnic where he taught engineering.

He was also the vice president of ADI, Italy’s Association of Industrial Design, and won the Compasso D’Oro for lifetime achievement in 2018. ‘Aerospace engineer, university lecturer and entrepreneur, in short: a man of multifaceted talent,’ said the Compasso D’Oro jury.

‘Founder of Artemide, he immediately used design processes as a distinctive factor and in this long process encouraged and enhanced collaborations with the world of national and international design. A coherent example of how design can be a concrete strategic lever for cultural and economic growth, it has always worked so that Italian design can be a virtuous example at an international level.’

Gismondi was also named a ‘Cavaliere del Lavoro’ – an award for important figures in the industry – by Italian president Giorgio Napolitano.