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Utopias of light by Davide Groppi: a double soul that combines poetry and industry

23 December 2021

The space set up by Davide Groppi during the SuperSalone, with the technical participation of Entity Elettronica, testifies to how solid and stable partnerships represent one of the keys to a continuous re-invention of the concept of Light


“Buio” the exhibition of unique projects by Davide Groppi, but also of future creations, possible and impossible: artificial light revealed itself in an original, playful, amazing way, as if it was for the first time. The creations appear as distant glimmers, feeble presences in darkness.


Works of free fantasy, negations of functionality and rationality, contradictions, allegories, utopias…

D.G .: A project born in the summer, the desire to remake lamps with hands“. This is the distinctive analysis that Davide Groppi has chosen to confirm his presence during the week of the “SuperSalone”: “We joined and participated in the initiative with an ethical spirit. I tried to give my contribution, above all to confirm a just merit: fairs are an ancient event to present products but, at the same time, I think that you can intercept a certain type of customers only thanks to trade fair events. Given the particular characteristics of last September’s edition of the Salone, due to the timing and format proposed by the organizers, as a company and group we have focused on the fact that this year’s event could be an experiential place for the visitor and not just a commodity“.

Artists, poets and musicians have always influenced Davide Groppi’s path as inventor of lamps: “I chose to select some prototypes, a tribute to my masters, as ideal continuations of their poetics, nostalgic gestures, the desire to return to creating lamps as I did in the mid-80s, in a very small workshop, assembling parts that I then exhibited in a tiny showcase. The entire operation was designed as a tribute: they were in the front row”.


The re-making of lamps with hands.

  • A tribute to René Magritte and Surrealism: “Ceci n’est pas une ampoule”. A lighted and magically suspended bulb appears in space, so real that it leaves no doubt. But the title states otherwise. The caption challenges the criterion of equivalence between similarity and affirmation and tells us that the light bulb of this first utopia is only the representation of a tangible object that has nothing to do with it.
  • Almost blue A 35mm slide dynamically welcoming the Yves Klein’s blue, the favourite color of Davide Groppi, the color of light.
  • FireFlies, an utopia is dedicated to Ingo Maurer, in order to bring his imagination to life by celebrating all of his poetic lightness.
  • The celebration of the silence of John Cage. The perception of the light source is cancelled out in favour of a light suspended in the void. Once again, a work on absolute light.
  • Millepiedi: Simple aggregation of electrical parts available on the market. A small ready-made, almost a declaration of non-proliferation of forms.
  • “Dancing in the Dark”: The synthesis of Alexander Calder acrobatics. Diffused light and reflected light.
  • Finally “Notte Africana”: The poetics of Fausto Melotti in this lightweight utopia of light, already designed in 1987, now revisited with a Led technology.


A return to the origins to continue shedding light: what is behind the lighting industry today?

D.G: “I would say that by now you can’t do without electronics, on the contrary, it makes me think that I have always started from making lamps thanks to the use of a new light source: new opportunities to experiment and innovate. For this reason, with the advent of electronics, with simple cold diodes, paradoxically I was able to design new and even more romantic products. A work that took shape in 2010, developed around the concept of “absolute light”, the idea of ​​being able to simply enjoy its effect. First the light conceived in a point-like sense: the diodes are little animals that have allowed us to develop the point, the line and the luminous plane. These are the foundations on which we continue to work and our research is constantly aimed at understanding where the sector continues to evolve, what are the new possible goals”.


Marginal but significant changes that allow applications that previously could only be imagined but not implemented. What is the importance of the technical collaborations that you have developed in recent years?

D.G: “It must be borne in mind that building lamps today is like making appliances. For this reason, continuity in relations with technical partners, the guarantee of their reliability and responsibility in relations are essential elements. In addition to the product, there are the certifications to be developed, the possible applications and contexts of use to be evaluated, which are onerous aspects for any company”.


Davide Groppi has a poetic soul and an industrial soul in his DNA

The company of the same name, part of the Italia design Brands group, is today a decidedly structured and increasingly organized reality to best support a dreamlike vocation and an industrial soul.

D.G: “I have to manage the company, as always, but I continue to express myself at my best as a light mechanic. The luck is that today we can find more than reliable partners on the market, as in the case of Entity Elettronica, with which we have an almost exclusive relationship to produce our lamps”.

Stefano Cavaggion of Entity Elettronica remarked in this regard: “Being treated as a partner in all respects gives us great stimuli. Working with people, whose design and production vision are the same, is the factor that allows us to raise the bar to tackle new challenges”.


Waiting to participate in the Light & Building in Frankfurt next year, what were the innovations presented in this 2021 that is about to end?

D.G: “In February 2021 the new ANIMA lamp was presented: a slender, light, ephemeral and abstract sculpture, it is a weightless ideogram. Absence and essence of light. It’s the emotion of an indirect light with an aesthetic poised between Scandinavian and Japanese design, two apparently distant cultures but, actually, very close. At the top, a thin metal open circle, almost a hook for fishermen of the soul. Anima is a lamp to be used on the floor or on low furniture, to keep close to yourself or to be used to create depth. INFINITO is a spatial concept; it is continuous light. A thin strip made of stainless steel a mere 18 mm in width “cuts” the space to produce indirect light. It is possible to adapt Infinito to various situations, stretching it from wall to wall or ceiling to floor, according to one’s taste or needs. It comes in strips up to 24 metres in length (standard versions at 6 / 12 metres in length). INFINITO, essence and absence, is a system that breaks down the actual lamp and light source, turning it into something else, leaving only a trace, a line and then not even that. It becomes, finally, a concept: light only. The key, however, is to always be yourself. In fact, in our catalog we will never insert something we don’t like …

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