Paolo Rizzatto: Eternally Brilliant, Perpetually Committed

When Italian industrial designer and architect Paolo Rizzatto created the 265 Wall Light for FLOS back in 1973, little did he know that he was giving shape to something so timeless that it would be relevant even four decades later.

The bold, gravity-defying lamp with its clean, minimalistic and elegant appearance and towering presence pretty much sums up Rizzatto’s work in the lighting design industry – relaxed, efficient, and omnipresent.

The prolific designer, who graduated from Milan’s Politecnico di Milano University with a degree in architecture (like many of his peers and predecessors), has created several masterpieces for some of the biggest Italian and international design companies such as Alias, Arteluce, Artemide, Cassina, Guzzini, Lensvelt, Kartell, Knoll, Luceplan, Mandarina Duck, Molteni, Montina, Nemo, Philips, Thonet.

Rizzatto has dazzled the world of design time and again with his marquee creations that include not just lamps and furniture, but full-fledged architectural and design projects, too.

Born in Milan in 1941, Rizzatto went to work with lighting and interior design company Arteluce soon after graduating from Milan Polytechnic in 1965. He opened his own design and architecture studio in 1968 and it was during this period that he blossomed as an architect. Between 1972 and 1976, he designed a crèche, a detached holiday home, a full-scale residential development, and a suburban villa.

But his work was still limited to in and around Italy and needless to say, Rizzatto was hungry for more. However, it was only a matter of time before his talent exploded on the global stage. World recognition was waiting for him and followed soon after he established Luceplan together with two other brilliant architects – Riccardo Sarfatti and Sandra Severi. Bound by a common passion for design and shared entrepreneurial courage, Luceplan was an effort by these three architects to consolidate their experience and create “beautiful items for the public at large.”

It was Luceplan that gave the world lighting masterpieces such as 265, Titania, GlassGlass, and Costanza.

Another proof of Rizzatto’s commitment to create products for the common people was the ultramodern modular kitchen Ecocompatta, which he designed for Veneta Cucine, an Italian company. Taking forward the concept of less is more, the kitchen is the epitome of space utility, functionality, and style coexisting in perfect harmony.

Although the kitchen is an ideal fit for matchbox-sized homes and studio apartments, it’s equally appealing for those who believe in minimalism as a statement of style – a concept that is indelible in all of Rizzatto’s creations.

The designer has received various honors for his work including Compasso d′Oro (thrice), Design Plus Ambiente, Red Dot Award Design Innovations, Good Design Award, European Community Design Prize, Industrie Forum Design Prize, and many more.

Many of his projects have been included in various seminaries and exhibitions on architecture and design, some even making their way into the permanent collections of museums and foundations all over the world.

By teaching at various institutions worldwide, including his alma mater (Politecnico di Milano) and the prestigious Columbia University in New York among others, Rizzatto is making sure that he passes the baton on to the next generation of designers.

After all, art is bigger than the artist. And it must live on.

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