If the 1960s produced an exuberance of flair in Italian design, Umberto Riva was one of its most brilliant exponents. Mentored by Carlo Scarpa at the Venice school of architecture, class of ’59, he began his professional career back home in Milan a year later and quietly proceeded to design memorable buildings, landscapes, interiors, furniture and objects mostly but not only in Italy. Still hard at it at the venerable age of 87, one of his latest projects is collaborative, with eminent gallerista Antonia Jannone. In an exhibition opening on November 17, the five-star gallery in Corso Garibaldi presents re-editions of two of his cult-status desk lamps – E63 and Lem – along with a series of drawings preceding their design in 1963.
E63, an object of substance and weight, was first produced in molded plastic by Francesconi in 1969. Revisited at the hands of Antonia Jannone, it’s stunning in steel, copper or bronze. Leggy Lem was also made by Francesconi and later by FontanaArte as Dilem, in aluminium and translucent polycarbonate. The Galleria Jannone versions come with base or clamp and have an opaque shade in a choice of two colours. Make no mistake, these are not lighting solutions but works of art: only a few pieces have been produced and each lamp comes with Umberto Riva’s signature and a certificate of authenticity. Nice Christmas presents. Whether you’re buying or just looking, they’ll be on display until January 9, 2016. Check here for opening times.