Two exhibitions running simultaneously (until October 6 and 13 respectively) honour the work of two celebrated Italian designers. The Design Museum in London is celebrating the work of Giò Ponti with a vast display of photos, drawings and projects from a sixty-year career in architecture, art and design. The second show in Aosta is devoted to Michele De Lucchi. “Dopotolomeo” takes its title from the fact that the exhibition covers De Lucchi architecture and design work since 1986, the year that first saw the world-famous Tolomeo lamp he designed for Artemide.

Best known for projects like the Pirelli skyscraper in Milan (1956) and the Cassina Superleggera chair (1957), as well as for Domus, the architectural review he founded in 1928 and edited until 1979 (the year of his death), Gio Ponti, esteemed as the founding father of Twentieth Century Italian design was also a painter and a poet.

Michele De Lucchi was not around in the period celebrated by the Aosta exhibition, those infamous Eighties, now best remembered for their rowdy superficiality and confusion Still, the decade did produce the Tolomeo which inspired this exhibition and remains a design icon (it won the Compasso D’Oro in 1989) and a best seller twenty odd years later. More than that, the Milanese designer’s famous lamp is considered to mark a watershed, the dividing line between everything designed before and since its appearance.

As well as houseware like De Lucchi vases and lamps for Produzione Privata and architectural projects, represented here by models of his power stations for Enel and photographic close-ups and models of his Italian Post Offices, the exhibition also illustrates his designs for buildings in Japan, and a variety of sketches and fascinating oddments.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 135

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