Established in 1945 by the master Giuseppe Ostuni, Oluce is an old Italian lighting design company which, thanks to the cooperation with contemporary designers, produces elegant lights.
Before the war there existed only Gino Sarfatti's Arteluce, which disappeared in the late '90s, while 1948 saw the birth of Azucena and Lamperti, followed by Arredoluce and Stilnovo in 1950. But for many years it was chiefly Arteluce, Azucena and Oluce that dominated the Italian scene, creating a hub for the designers - strongly engaged first in the reconstruction and later in the birth of series production - who animated the Milanese forum: Vittoriano Viganò and BBPR, Gigi Caccia Dominioni and Ignazio Gardella, Marco Zanuso and Joe Colombo. Atollo - essentially inimitable though copied around the world, winner of the "Compasso d'oro" in 1979, featured in the permanent collections of all the leading design and decorative arts museums - has thus become much more than just a lamp: it is a legend. Its secret probably lies in the geometry of its forms: the cone on the cylinder, all surmounted by the hemisphere. A luminous sculpture to which nothing can be added, and from which nothing can be taken away. In the meantime, Magistretti's presence protected Oluce from superficial forays into postmodernism, as confirmed by the various designs by Bruno Gecchelin included in the catalogue.At the start of the '90s, it was the rigour of the emergent Swiss designer Hannes Wettstein which characterised the company's style. Finally, in 1995 Oluce took a different tack under the art direction of Marco Romanelli, which bolstered its international success and the collection's critical acclaim. The new formula put the focus on expressing highly diverse personal idioms, and in particular those of leading contemporary designers, such as the Englishman Sebastian Bergne, the Swiss Hans Peter Weidmann, and the Italians Laudani&Romanelli. In 1997 the "Estela" lamp was the word's first industrially-produced object designed by the brothers Fernando and Humberto Campana, poetic narrators of their far-away Brazil. In 2000, the "Nuvola" series marked the start of Toni Cordero's collaboration with Oluce. One of the leading Italian architects of his generation, Cordero imposed his vision through the use of utterly disruptive and unconventional forms. Nuvola has been his last, wonderful project. In 2001 white Murano glass stones and transparent perspex reeds populated the Oluce booth at Euroluce. Designed by Laudani&Romanelli and Ferdi Giardini, they proposed a way of doing design that exceeds its function and turns itself into poetry. The search for authoritative international voices that can articulate types of illumination following the oluce philosophy has continued down this path. This small group of designers was then enhanced by the addition of american Tim Power, fi nn Harri Koskinen and italian Carlo Colombo. For Oluce, the new millennium opens with new partnerships and new energy. On the one hand it explores territories beyond the confi nes of light: with "Nerolia", Ferdi Giardini proposes a lamp-fragrance diffuser; "Ibiza" is Francesco Rota's offering of an outdoor device that contains a sophisticated loudspeaker; Laudani&Romanelli have designed a "Cand-led", an artificial candle that can be recharged like a mobile phone, thereby eliminating the need to plug it in; and Harri Koskinen, the young Finn who managed to re-launch Nordic style on the international design stage, in his first attempt beyond his native border, has dreamed up "Lamppu", a reading lamp that features a moveable head that can also be used as a flashlight. Each of these projects follows an important path of research and innovation.