Gae Aulenti

Gae Aulenti

The designer and architect Gaetana Aulenti was born in Italy on December 4 1927 and died on October 31 2012. She studied architecture at the Polytechnic University of Milan. As a designer she created furniture and lights for famous brands like Artemide, FontanaArte and many others. Gae Aulenti was also famous for designing several museums in Paris and Barcelona, and especially for the restructuring of the Paris Gare d'Orsay into a museum, the Musée d'Orsay. For this achievement, she received the Legion of Honour from François Mitterand, the French president at the time. During her career, Aulenti also earned the Japanese Praemium Imperiale (1991). She was appointed honorary member of the Association of German Architects (BDA) in 1989.

The Tour table, designed for FontanaArte, is especially striking. It has a clear glass plate on top of four bicycle's wheels. For Zanotta in 1964, Gae Aulenti created the timeless April chair with minimalist appearance which imitates a film director's chair. The Pipistrello light for Martinelli Luce has an extraordinary shade which features organic folds meant to resemble the wings of a a bat (in Italian: pipistrello). Aulenti also designed the memorable Ruspa table lamp for the same brand. Two other lights for FontanaArte use a spherical shape as their basis: Parolas' s round diffuser is opened on one side, providing partly directed and partly diffuse light, while the table lamp Giova surrounds a round diffuser with two clear glass balls and serves at the same time as a flower vase.

Gae Aulenti worked as a product designer and as an architect. She was also graphic designer and editor for the magazine Casabella continuità for ten years and taught architecture composition at the University of Venice from 1960 to 1962. She was guest professor in America and Europe. The designer's heart did not only beat for furniture and buildings, but also for the theater. She taught at the theater project lab from 1976 to 1979. She also designed stage sets especially for the Italian director Luca Ronconi.