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Fontana Arte Furniture

Fontana Arte (Italy)

Best known for its elegant and innovative lighting pieces, the Milan-based firm Fontana Arte pioneered one of the key features of 20th-century and contemporary Italian design: the union of artistry and industry wrought by partnerships between creative talents — chiefly architects — and entrepreneurial businesses. Fontana Arte is further distinguished by having had as artistic director, in succession, four of Italy’s most inventive modernist designers: Giò Ponti, Pietro Chiesa, French transplant Max Ingrand and Gae Aulenti.


The bread and butter of the glassmaking company that Luigi Fontana founded in 1881 was plate-glass panels for the construction industry. In 1930, Fontana met Ponti — then the artistic director of the Richard-Ginori ceramics workshop and the editor of the influential magazine Domus— at a biannual design exhibition that became the precursor to today’s Milan Design Triennale, and the two hatched an idea for a furniture and housewares firm. Fontana Arte was incorporated in 1932 with Ponti as its chief of design. He contributed several lamps that remain among the company’s signature works, including the orb-atop-cone Bilia table lamp and the 0024 pendant — a stratified hanging sphere. 


The following year, Fontana Arte partnered with the influential Milan studio glassmaker and retailer Pietro Chiesa, who took over as artistic director. Chiesa’s designs for lighting — as well as for tables and items including vases and ashtrays — express an appreciation for fluidity and simplicity of line, as seen in works such as his flute-shaped Luminator floor lamp and the 1932 Fontana table — an arched sheet of glass that is held in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art


Six years after Chiesa’s 1948 death, the École des Beaux Arts–trained Max Ingrand took over as head of design at Fontana Arte. Ingrand brought a similarly expressive formal sensibility to wares such as lamps and mirrors, but he also had a masterful eye for the manipulation of glass surfaces — whether they be cut, frosted, acid-etched or sand-blasted. His classic design is the Fontana table lamp of 1954, which has a truncated cone shade and curved body, both of which are made of pure, chic white-frosted glass. 


Following Ingrand, the often-audacious Italian architect Gae Aulenti served as the company’s artistic director from 1979 to 1996, and while she generally insisted that furnishings take second place aesthetically to architecture, she made an exception for Fontana Arte pieces such as the Tavolo con Ruote series of glass coffee and dining tables on wheels, bold lighting pieces such as the Parola series and the Giova, a combination flower vase and table lamp. As a key incubator of modern design under Aulenti’s tenure, Fontana Arte remained true to its long-held commitment — creating objects that have never been less than daring.


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Italian Midcentury Green Glass Floor Lamp by P. Chiesa for Fontana Arte, 1930
By Fontana Arte, Pietro Chiesa
Located in New York, NY
A modern Classic. An elegant Italian Mid-Century Modern 'Novecento' green glass standing lamp in the modern neoclassical spirit by Pietro Chiesa for Fontana Arte composed of three co...
Category

1930s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Fontana Arte Furniture

Materials

Brass

Italian Midcentury Bronze and Murano Glass Pendant or Lantern by Fontana Arte
By Fontana Arte, Pietro Chiesa
Located in New York, NY
Category

Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Fontana Arte Furniture

Materials

Bronze, Murano Glass

Italian Midcentury Glass Chandelier or Pendant by Max Ingrand for Fontana Arte
By Fontana Arte, Max Ingrand
Located in New York, NY
Category

1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Fontana Arte Furniture

Materials

Brass, Glass

Pair of Brass and Glass Flush Mounts / Sconces by Max Ingrand for Fontana Arte
By Fontana Arte, Max Ingrand
Located in New York, NY
Pair of Italian Mid-Century Modern polished brass and satin, acid etched glass flush mount fixtures or wall lights / sconces by Max Ingrand for Fontana Arte, Italy, 1955-1960. Th...
Category

Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Fontana Arte Furniture

Materials

Brass

Italian Glass and Brass Chandelier by Gio Ponti & Pietro Chiesa for Fontana Arte
By Fontana Arte, Gio Ponti
Located in New York, NY
Category

Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Fontana Arte Furniture

Materials

Brass, Glass

Italian Modern Neoclassical Brass /Glass Pendant by Pietro Chiesa & Fontana Arte
By Fontana Arte, Pietro Chiesa
Located in New York, NY
Category

Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Fontana Arte Furniture

Materials

Brass, Glass

Italian Modern Neoclassical Glass Chandelier by Pietro Chiesa for Fontana Arte
By Fontana Arte, Pietro Chiesa
Located in New York, NY
Category

1940s Italian Modern Vintage Fontana Arte Furniture

Materials

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Pair of Italian Mid-Century Modern Glass 'Astrolabe' Table Lamps by Fontana Arte
By Fontana Arte
Located in New York, NY
An elegant pair of Italian Mid-Century table lamps by Fontana Arte reflecting a modern neoclassical taste (Novecento) composed of a solid brass frame with inset pieces of glass arran...
Category

1930s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Fontana Arte Furniture

Materials

Brass

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