Luigi Fontana founded the company in Milan in 1881. The company used to manufacture glass for the construction industry, but as the century began to draw to a close, the company started manufacturing glass for interior design.
In 1931, Gio Ponti became the company’s Art Director. Gio Ponti was one of the founders of ADI (the Italian Industrial Design Association). He designed public and private buildings as well as furniture and other objects that made architectural and design history.
Some of the lamps Gio Ponti designed for the company are still being manufactured, including 0024, Bilia, Pirellina, and Pirellone.
Pietro Chiesa joined the company in 1932. Pietro was a talented glazier who brought in more and more craftsmen who helped advance the company’s vision.
It was at this point that the company became FontanaArte. The company’s mission is to develop products characterised by their impressive craftsmanship.
Max Ingrand joined the company as the new Art Director in 1954 and led FontanaArte into the industrial era. He changed the company’s production strategy from limited product collections and one-offs to mass production and increasingly industrial manufacturing methods. That said, he did not compromise the level of craftsmanship—he stuck to the mission and focused on manufacturing lamps characterised by impressive craftsmanship.
Max Ingrand died in 1969, at the age of 61. Following his death, the company was bought by a group of private entrepreneurs and in 1979, Carlo Guglielmi was appointed Director.
Gae Aulenti was brought on board as the new Art Director and steered FontanaArte in a more modern direction.
In 1998, FontanaArte received the “ADI Compasso d’Oro” award for their creative vision that emphasised design and a tradition of combining emerging technology and craftsmanship.
In 1978, Giorgio Biscaro became the new Art Direction and in 2011, “Casa da Abitare” named him one of the 20 most talented Italian designers.
In 2013, FontanaArte presented their product collection at Euroluce, shifting their focus to partnerships with a new generation of international designers as well as manufacturing using innovative materials.
The company has never lost sight of its vision: to design lighting solutions that help people turn their home into the artistic masterpiece they’ve always dreamt of.
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