21st Century and Contemporary Italian Modern Table Lamps
21st Century and Contemporary Italian Modern Floor Lamps
21st Century and Contemporary Italian Modern Chandeliers and Pendants
Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Wall Lights and Sconces
venini Biography and Important Works
Beginning in the 1930s — and throughout the postwar years especially — Venini & Co. played a leading role in the revival of Italy’s high-end glass industry, pairing innovative modernist designers with the skilled artisans in the centuries-old glass workshops on the Venetian island of Murano. While the company’s founder, Paolo Venini (1895–1959), was himself a highly talented glassware designer, his true genius was to invite forward-thinking Italian and international designers to Murano’s hallowed workshops to create Venini pieces — among them Giò Ponti, Massimo Vignelli, Finnish designer Tapio Wirkkala, Thomas Stearnsof the United States and Fulvio Bianconi.
Paolo Venini trained and practiced as a lawyer for a time, though his family had been involved with glassmaking for generations. After initially buying a share in a Venetian glass firm, he took over the company as his own in 1925, and under his direction it produced mainly classical Baroque designs. In 1932, he hired the young Carlo Scarpa— who would later distinguish himself as an architect — as his lead designer. Scarpa, working in concert with practiced glass artisans, completely modernized Venini, introducing simple, pared-down forms; bright primary colors; and bold patterns such as stripes, banding and abstract compositions that utilized cross sections of murrine (glass rods).
Paolo Venini’s best designs are thought to be his two-color Clessidre hourglasses, produced from 1957 onward, and the Fazzoletto (“handkerchief”) vase, designed with Bianconi in 1949. Bianconi’s masterworks are considered by many to be his Pezzato works — colorful vases with patterns that resemble those of a patchwork quilt. Other noteworthy and highly collectible vintage Venini works include Ponti’s dual-tone stoppered bottles (circa 1948); rare glass sculptures from the Doge series by Stearns, the first American to design for the firm; Vignelli’s striped lanterns of the 1960s; the Occhi vases with eyelet-shaped patterns by Tobia Scarpa (son of Carlo); and, with their almost zen purity, the Bolle (“bubbles”) bottles designed by Wirkkala in 1968.
With these works — and many others by some of the creative titans of the 20th and 21st century — Venini has produced one of the truly great bodies of work in modern design.
Finding the Right Lighting for You
The right table lamp, outwardly sculptural chandelier or understated wall pendant can work wonders for your home. While we’re indebted to thinkers like Thomas Edison for critically important advancements in lighting and electricity, we’re still finding new ways to customize illumination to fit our personal spaces all these years later.
Today, lighting designers like the self-taught Bec Brittain have used the flexible structure of LEDs to craft glamorous solutions by working with what is typically considered a harsh lighting source. By integrating glass and mirrors, reflection can be used to soften the glow from LEDs and warmly welcome light into any space.
Although contemporary innovators continue to impress, some of the classics can’t be beat.
Just as gazing at the stars allows you to glimpse the universe’s past, vintage chandeliers like those designed by Gino Sarfatti and J. & L. Lobmeyr, for example, put on a similarly stunning show, each with a rich story to tell. As dazzling as it is, the Arco lamp, on the other hand, prioritizes functionality — it’s wholly mobile, no drilling required. Designed in 1962 by architect-product designers Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, the piece takes the traditional form of a streetlamp and creates an elegant, arching floor fixture for at-home use. There is no shortage of modernist lighting similarly prized by collectors and casual enthusiasts alike — the Tripod floor lamp by T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings, Greta Magnusson-Grossman's sleek and minimalist Grasshopper lamps and, of course, the wealth of postwar experimental lighting that emerged from Italian artisans at Arredoluce, FLOS and many more are hallmarks in illumination innovation.
With decades of design evolution behind it, home lighting is no longer just practical. Crystalline shaping by designers like Gabriel Scott turns every lighting apparatus into a luxury accessory. A new installation doesn’t merely showcase a space; carefully chosen ceiling lights, table lamps and floor lamps can create a mood, spotlight a favorite piece or highlight your unique personality.
The sparkle that your space has been missing is waiting for you amid the growing collection of antique, vintage and contemporary lighting on 1stDibs.