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Pipistrello Lamp
Iconic Designs

Pipistrello Lamp

About the Design

Like the animal for which it is named, Gae Aulenti’s 1965 Pipistrello, which means “bat” in Italian, is a lamp that’s both graceful and skeletal. With its translucent shade and telescopic stem, the Pipistrello merges art and engineering. Designing her iconic lamp wasn’t Aulenti’s only project at the time; she was also teaching at the School of Architecture at the Polytechnic University of Milan and running her architecture practice, which she founded in 1954.

In addition to architecture, Aulenti (1927–2012) was also interested in interior design, especially so when she joined the staff of design magazine Casabella in 1955. She would later go on to join the American Society of Interior Designers. The Pipistrello is a testament to both Aulenti’s architectural training as well as her foray into interior decoration. Its telescopically adjustable steel stem, set atop a lacquered aluminum base, renders it a practical and versatile table lamp. The acrylic shade, meanwhile, is sculptural and dynamic, with its overlapping arches suggesting mid-flight movement. Aulenti’s choice of material — white opal methacrylate, a translucent acrylic — makes for an enchanting glow when the light is on and hides the lamp’s inner workings when it’s off.

Despite her lasting legacy, Aulenti championed an understated approach to interiors and architecture, espousing the belief that a room’s human occupants should be the focus rather than any design piece. In an interview with Vogue, she said that her "advice to whoever asks me how to make a home is to not have anything, just a few shelves for books, some pillows to sit on.”

Aulenti’s second bit of advice, though, is an embodiment of her legacy and commitment to lasting design: “To take a stand against the ephemeral, against passing trends . . . and to return to lasting values." Light, function and durability — what could be more lasting than those?

The Pipistrello was manufactured by Milanese design house Martinelli Luce, which would become famous for the Cobra desk lamp a few years later, and it remains in production today.

Gae Aulenti Pipistrello Lamp

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Gae Aulenti Pipistrello Lamp for Martinelli Luce
By Gae Aulenti, Martinelli Luce
Located in New York, NY
Pipistrello ("Bat") lamp designed by Italian architect Gae Aulenti for Martinelli Luce in 1965. A vintage example, circa late 1960's, of this iconic Neo-Rationalist design. A particu...
Category

Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Table Lamps

Materials

Aluminum, Stainless Steel, Chrome

Large Pipistrello Table Lamp by Gae Aulenti for Martinelli Luce
By Gae Aulenti
Located in Herzele, BE
Large Pipistrello table lamp by Gae Aulenti for Martinelli Luce. Can be used as a table or standing lamp with diffused light, adjustable height. Height 66-86 cm Base diameter 35 cm...
Category

Vintage 1960s Italian Table Lamps

Materials

Aluminum

Martinelli Luce Dimmable LED Pipistrello 620 Table Lamp by Gae Aulenti
By Gae Aulenti, Martinelli Luce
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Designed in 1965 by Gae Aulenti for Martinelli Luce, the lamp is made with innovative techniques for the diffuser in methacrylate for the time in which it was designed. The shape of ...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Modern Table Lamps

Materials

Stainless Steel

Martinelli Luce LED Minipipistrello 620/J Table Lamp by Gae Aulenti
By Gae Aulenti, Martinelli Luce
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Mini version of the Pipistrello lamp designed by Gae Aulenti in 1965. Table lamp diffused lighting. Glazed stainless steel structure, white opal methacrylate diffuser. Base and knob...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Modern Table Lamps

Materials

Stainless Steel

Large Pipistrello Table Light
By Martinelli Luce, Gae Aulenti
Located in London, GB
by Gae Aulenti for Martinelli Luce Largest of this design telescopic from 66cm to 86cm. The light is in excellent vintage condition.
Category

Vintage 1980s Italian Mid-Century Modern Table Lamps

Materials

Metal

Mid-Century Modern "Pipistrello" Table Lamp Designed by Gae Aulenti, Italy, 1960
By Gae Aulenti
Located in Madrid, ES
Large "Pipistrello" table lamp designed by Gae Aulenti for Martinelli Luce. The table lamp has a stainless steel telescopic system that makes it possible to adjust the height, and th...
Category

Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Table Lamps

Materials

Steel