Gio Ponti’s tribute to Milan’s famous skyscraper: the classic Pirellina and Pirellone collection

Gio Ponti makes a comeback as art director in 1967 and designs a new collection of lamps for FontanaArte, inspired by skyscraper profiles and lighting. What better name than Pirellina and Pirellone, a tribute to Milan’s most famous skyscraper? The namesake lamps garner the same success as the Pirelli tower, which remains the most emblematic section of the Milan skyline, while Pirellone and Pirellina continue to be lighting classics, firm favourites in the FontanaArte catalogue for 40 years. Two pieces of curved glass are fastened into place by upper and lower metal elements. The secret of this uncomplicated structure lies in the use of a special impact-resistant glass. The two bowls embrace the light sources and, when the light is switched on, it reveals the different levels of the coupled structure. Alternating beams of light and shade mimic the vertical position of skyscraper windows. So what is the difference between Pirellone and Pirellina? The former is a floor lamp carrying an upper halogen source that ensures a superb combination of diffused and indirect light; the later is a bedside lamp that also comes in a larger dressing table version.

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