Donzella LTD
Nov 3, 2017 8:06PM

Lighting selections from Donzella LTD's exhibition Heavy Metals                         by Jorge Socarras

On November 9th, Donzella LTD presents Heavy Metals, an exhibition of works curated with an eye towards distinct and imaginative uses of metals.  On view will be a rich range of furnishings and decorative objects spanning a century of design history.  Among the myriad display, the lighting pieces themselves serve as a unique overview, encapsulating innovative and stylistic trends of the last hundred years – from modernism and art deco to postmodernism and contemporary.

While it’s easy to take for granted the light fixtures we utilize in our homes and work spaces every day, the artists and designers featured in Heavy Metals compel the viewer to look upon the utilitarian with revitalized aesthetic appreciation – even wonder.  Take, for example, one of the oldest pieces in the show, a unique table lamp from 1923 by the Hagenauer Werkstätte in Vienna, with a metal base of intricately hand-worked repoussé that can stand on its own as a purely decorative object but for the lampshade that reminds us of its utility.  Established in 1898, the Hagenauer “Workshop” produced decorative bronze and metal objects in the ornate style known as Jugendstil, developing a more modernist signature style from the late 1920s on into the 1950s.

Karl Hagenauer, Unique Studio Made Table Lamp, Austria, 1923

A 1947 floor lamp in brass and painted metal by Angelo Lelii for Arredoluce strikes a harmonious balance between modernist and decorative elements with its gentle curves and flower-like shades.  Lelii founded Arredoluce as a small lighting company in postwar Italy, but it would soon become one of the most important and enduring names in Italian design. The company is renowned for lighting designs with essential lines that maintain sculptural appeal.  As such, the floor lamp on exhibit is exemplary.  At a farther pole of minimalist design, a mid-50s Italian chandelier by Biancardi & Jordan in oxidized brass and black tubular metal manages to suggest kinetic dynamism with just a few striking lines and angles.

Angelo Lelii, Rare Floor Lamp for Arredoluce, Italy, c. 1947

Biancardi & Jordan, Rare Multi-Light Chandelier, Italy, c. 1955

A rare pair of brass and painted steel sconces with acid-etched glass designed by the prolific Max Ingrand for Fontana Arte, c.1963, perfectly signals early post-modernist trends in Italy, whereby the creator’s imagination transcends purely functional tenets.  A master designer, decorator, and glassmaker, Ingrand created innovative designs that were years ahead of his time, and as artistic director of Fontana Arte (1954 -1964) produced a number of classics.

Max Ingrand, Rare Pair of No. 1844 Sconces for Fontana Arte, Italy, c. 1963

First designed by Angelo Brotto in 1972, Italian lighting company Esperia reissued Rettangolare Unico in 2012 as a limited edition celebrating its 60 years in business.  Made of glass with brushed and polished steel, each panel in the edition has a unique arrangement of colored glass insets, thus the name meaning “Unique Rectangle.” The piece bridges stylistic elements of mid-century modernism with postmodern playfulness.

Angelo Brotto, Rettangolare Unico for Esperia, Italy, 1972/2012

Bringing Heavy Metals into the contemporary sphere, Fedele Papagni’s Mobile light (2015) in polished and painted brass and aluminum pays homage to modernist antecedents, as well as to his own original single-light version.  The kinetic fixture is made exclusively for Donzella. Meanwhile, the highly sculptural Matta floor lamp (2016) in bronze with applied gold patina is just one of a number of limited works by French artist Alexandre Logé shown exclusively in New York at Donzella.

Fedele Papagni, Mobile, Italy, 2015

Alexandre Logé, Matta Floor Lamp, France, 2016

Taken together with the many other works in the exhibition representing a gamut of styles and design methodologies, the collection of lights in Heavy Metals offers a stunning breadth of solutions to the timeless challenge of form and function.

Donzella LTD