A new catalogue entry, Tavolo con Ruote: a surprising piece heralding Gae Aulenti’s design approach

When Gae Aulenti spots an industrial trolley used to ferry glass around the FontanaArte plant, she finds inspiration for the Tavolo con Ruote. The table is a perfect specimen of intuitive design that skips the drawing board and goes straight from the idea of an everyday item to the spontaneous implementation of the prototype. This wheeled table replaces the factory trolley’s wooden shelf with a chunky sheet of bevelled glass − a tribute to the company’s production history − and is fitted with free-rolling industrial wheels. The nature of the object and its intended use are transformed by simply replacing one part, echoing the spirit of many works by contemporary artist Marcel Duchamp.

Gae Aulenti and Piero Castiglioni bring handcrafting to industry with the Parola table lamp

Gae Aulenti produces another runaway success when she combines three kinds of glass, each made from a different production, craft or industrial process. Blown opal glass is used for the directional shade; the stem is in transparent industrial borosilicate glass, particularly resistant to impact; the base is in bevelled industrial glass. Parola is still considered a textbook example of how craftmanship can fit into an industrial scenario, as well as being a flagship for FontanaArte’s glass manufacturing status. Table and floor versions were added in 1980, and a year later a wall-mounted model was installed as lighting for Palazzo Grassi in Venice.

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