Oluce Established in 1945 by the master Giuseppe Ostuni, Oluce is the oldest Italian lighting design company that is still active today. In fact, before the war there existed only Gino Sarfatti's Arteluce, which disappeared in the late '90s, while 1948 saw the birth of Azucena and Lamperti, followed by Arredoluce and Stilnovo in 1950.
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Oluce is the oldest Italian lighting design company that is still active today. In fact, before the war there existed only Gino Sarfatti’s Arteluce, which disappeared in the late ’90s, while 1948 saw the birth of Azucena and Lamperti, followed by Arredoluce and Stilnovo in 1950. But for many years it was chiefly Arteluce, Azucena and Oluce that dominated the Italian scene, creating a hub for the designers – strongly engaged first in the reconstruction and later in the birth of series production – who animated the Milanese forum: Vittoriano Viganò and BBPR, Gigi Caccia Dominioni and Ignazio Gardella, Marco Zanuso and Joe Colombo.
As early as 1951, Oluce registered a success at the IX Triennale, in the lighting section directed by Achille, Livio and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, with an indirect incandescent luminator designed by Franco Buzzi. The company, as it was during that period, quickly reached an international public through Domus magazine, thanks to the vision of Gio Ponti. Its ’50s catalogues confirm the individuality of Ostuni’s work, which has yet to be fully examined in critical key. Tito Agnoli achieved an important success in 1955, with mentions at the second “Compasso d’oro” for two of his lamps (a floor lamp, mod. 363, and a special model for bookshelves). In 1956 two other mentions followed in rapid succession: for a truly remarkable table lamp in laminar polyvinyl, and for a pendant light (mod. 4461) with double perspex shade. And then there was the ground-breaking “Agnoli” model (255/387), a spot light supported on a slender stem, which in 1954 marked the decline of lampshades and the rise of highly simplifi ed floor lamps, even for domestic lighting.
In addition to Agnoli, Ostuni’s collaborators included: Forti, the forgotten advocate of a new living style for the Milanese high middle class, as well as Arnaboldi, Monti and Minale. But it was only at the end of the decade, thanks to the encounter with Joe and Gianni Colombo, that Oluce took a more pronounced revolutionary slant. The Colombo brothers (subsequently only Joe pursued his incisive sorties into the world of objects, while Gianni devoted himself to the fine arts) were seeking a receptive environment for their audacious designs: this was Oluce. First there was the “Acrilica” table lamp (mod. 281), included in the Oluce catalogue as of 1962: a very thick perspex curve through which the light appears to climb, exemplifying both a possible meeting point between art and design, as well as an elegant use of new materials. A gold medal winner at the XIII Triennale, where Joe Colombo also won two silver medals (for the “Combi-Center” and the “Mini-Kitchen”), the “Acrilica” consolidated Joe Colombo as one of the great designers of the day.