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Gino Sarfatti


Gino Sarfatti was born in Venice in 1912.

In 1930, he moved to Genoa to study Aeronaval Engineering. Further afield, however, the political situation worsened dramatically and the sanctions imposed on Italy by the League of Nations in 1935 ruined his father’s business.

Sarfatti was forced to give up his studies and relocate to Milan at the age of 23. It was there that an encounter with engineering and light design would set him on his future path. He founded Arteluce in 1939, producing lighting solutions that combined new ideas with innovative design.

Arteluce shop, Via della Spiga, Milan

In 1943, with the introduction of the Italian racial laws and the bombing of Milan, the family was forced to flee to Switzerland. Arteluce remained active and Sarfatti returned in 1950 after the liberation.

In 1951, Arteluce opened its first sales outlet on Milan’s Corso Littorio, now known as Corso Matteotti, designed by Marco Zanuso. As well as retail, Arteluce produced lamps for the residential and public sectors. Projects included cruise ships, museums, and theatres, including Genoa’s Palazzo Bianco and Turin’s Teatro Regio.

In 1954, his 1063 and 1065 models received the “Gran Prix” at the Milan Triennale while the 559 won the prestigious Compasso d'Oro ADI. The latter was won again the following year with the 1055. In 1962, Gino Sarfatti and his lifelong friend Vittoriano Viganò opened their flagship location on Via della Spiga.

An internationally renowned designer and entrepreneur who designed over 700 luminaries in his lifetime, Sarfatti decided to sell Arteluce to Flos in 1973 and retire to live in his home in Griante on Lake Como.

Gino Sarfatti died in 1985.

Teatro Regio, Turin
Library, Andrea Doria cruise ship