In 1946 Stilnovo was founded by the designer Bruno Gatta in Lainate, an industrial suburb of Milan. His aim was clear from the start: to produce innovative lighting that embodied rationalist principles. In the postwar era, Gaetano Sciolari took on the role of in-house designer, and as economic recovery swept through Italy, Stilnovo became known as one of the most prestigious cutting-edge light design companies and commissions flooded in from private and public sectors.
In the mid-1960s, Bruno Gatta’s son Dino invited some of the most famous designers of the day to develop new products, and Stilnovo became a hotbed for progressive design ideas and material experimentation. Standout designs from this era include the Periscopio Floor Lamp (1967) by Danilo & Corrado Aroldi, the Treiedo Spotlight (1970) and the Topo Adjustable Wall Lamp (1970) by Joe Colombo, the Lucetta Table Lamp (1970) by Cini Boeri and the Valigia Desk Lamp (1977) by Ettore Sottsass. Many Stilnovo pieces were exhibited in MoMA’s landmark exhibition ‘Italy: The New Domestic Landscape’ in 1972.
A key reference book is the Repertorio Metrica dello Stilnovo, edited in 1980 by Presso la Società in Rome, which features drawings by Gaetano Sciolari. The Stilnovo Monograph was also published by Electa in 2013.
In 2012 Massimo Anselmi, an art director specialising in fashion design and contemporary art, acquired Stilnovo and launched re-editions of a number of iconic Stilnovo designs the following year.