Ernesto Gismondi

Designer

Sanremo / Italy

Ernesto Gismondi (Sanremo, 1931 - Milan, 2020) was one of the most influential entrepreneurs, designers and academics on the national and international scene. Gismondi's singular career led him to work on missiles and design simultaneously, with a profound impact on the history of the latter. He obtained his degree in aeronautical engineering from Milan Polytechnic in 1957. He then specialised in missile engineering at the Scuola Superiore di Ingegneria Missilistica in Rome; from 1964 to 1984, he was an associate professor in a course on missile engines at the Milan Polytechnic. His rigorous scientific training gave him in-depth knowledge of materials and a particular focus on innovation.

His encounter with architect Sergio Mazza marked the beginning of an adventure in the world of design. In 1959, they founded Artemide s.a.s., a workshop with an artisanal dimension that produced furniture and accessories, some designed by emerging figures. Soon Artemide's production focused on lighting, given the success of such products as Alfa by Sergio Mazza (1959), Polluce by Enzo Mari (1965) and Eclisse by Vico Magistretti (1967), which won the Compasso d'Oro. These successes enabled Gismondi to open his first factory in Pregnana Milanese, allowing him to collaborate with renowned architects and designers like Gio Ponti and Piero Castiglioni, devoting himself personally to product design. He soon developed a passion for designing lamps and lighting systems, putting his scientific knowledge to good use, indulging his innate talent as an inventor.

Ernesto Gismondi's lamps are simple in appearance, with an essential, no-frills design. As his famous motto 'human and responsible light' reflects, the designer pays attention to all factors that influence user well-being. For more than forty years, Gismondi designed indoor and outdoor lamps, office lighting systems and street lamps, always keeping up with technical innovations. From his first iconic piece, Sintesi (1975), to his achievements in the 1990s like Microlight (1990), Leda (1992), Kalia (1993), Miconos (1998), his more recent creations included Nur (2003), Ilio (2013), Discovery (2019), which won the Compasso d'Oro ADI and the Red Dot Design Award, to name a few. In the meantime, Artemide became a group with offices and shops throughout the world, boasting one of the sector's most prestigious catalogues. Gismondi's contribution to design did not end with the global diffusion of Made-in-Italy excellence, attested by the Compasso d'oro ADI lifetime achievement award conferred in 2018. The designer played a crucial role in the popularity of Memphis, the collective founded by Ettore Sottsass, active from 1981 to 1987, of which he was president and promoter. Ernesto Gismondi died in Milan in 2020 at the age of 89. ... More ... less

Products designed by Ernesto Gismondi

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