Sunday, January 25, 2009

Nesso table/wall lamp | Giancarlo Mattioli, Gruppo Architetti Urbanisti Città Nuova | Artemide, Italy | 1967

Giancarlo Mattioli Nesso lampGiancarlo Mattioli
Gruppo Architetti Urbanisti Città Nuova
Artemide, Italy, 1967

Fitting that I’m going to put the Nesso lamp first. It’s the first modern plastic piece that caught my eye and was the first I just “had to have.” It has a gorgeous mushroom form that is as stunning lit as not. The lamp is part of the Artemide “Modern Classic” line and lists for $441. The cheapest I was able to find a new lamp was $301. They typically sell on eBay in the $250-300 range , but keep in mind this may be for early examples. Here is the Nesso listing direct from the Artemide online store.

Nesso lamp Here is my Nesso, sitting in front of “Cubicus” (Peer Clahsen for Naef Toys, Switzerland, 1968) in red.

Nesso promotionAssorted publicity photos (Artemide)

Nesso promotion Artemide catalog featuring the Nesso

Nesso in white and orangeThe Nesso lamp, orange and white

Gruppo Architetti Urbanisti Città Nuova was formed in the 1960s by Pierluigi Cervellati, Umberto Maccaferri, Giancarlo Mattioli, Franco Morelli, Gianpaolo Mazzucato, and Mario Zaffagnini.

The table standing or wall mounted lamp features a body and diffuser in white or orange ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) thermoplastic injection molded into chromed molds. It uses four 25W (max) candelabra base incandescent bulbs (E12/G16 or B10 white) to achieve diffused and direct light. Early examples of the lamp are made of fiberglass-reinforced polyester resin and fitted with a small dimmer.  Newer productions feature a cord with an integrated switch.

Nesso schematicSchematic drawing of the Nesso lamp

Nesso cord and switchSwitch on New Model

Nesso underside Nesso underside

The 2002-03 Artemide Quick Reference Catalog states that, “In 1999, coinciding with its fortieth birthday, Artemide revisited and proposed eighteen of its first luminaries from the sixties and seventies, and placed them back into production, following the original handcrafted manufacturing processes...The collection was to have a limited period of production but, because of the great success and continuing demand, nine of the eighteen models will continue to be offered.”  These are Eclisse, Alfa, Polluce, Aminta, Omega, Boalum, Mezzachimera, Fato, and Nesso.  The 18 modern classics chosen by Artemide were desgined between 1959 (Alfa) and 1975 (Patroclo).

The lamp is a result of a competition staged by Artemide and Editrice Domus, where it took 1° Premio Concorso, 1965 Milan (Italy). It is featured in the Twentieth Century Design Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (USA), the Design Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York (USA), permanent exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO (USA), represented in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem (Israel), permanent exhibit at Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Montréal, Montréal (Canada), Museo Permanente del Design Italiano 1945-1990, Triennale di Milano, Milan (Italy). Here it is at MoMA. It is also Daniel Meade’s desk lamp on Ugly Betty.

In 2003, Mattioli created a smaller version of the Nesso, called Nessino.  It is made of molded, transparent polycarbonate in translucent blue, orange, grey, red and yellow. The lamp has a clear cord with a clear dimmer switch incorporated onto the cord.  It is much smaller than Nesso at a height of 22.3 cm and a diameter of 32 cm.

Nessino lamp The Nessino lamp in five colors

Selected Bibliography

L'Utopie Du Tout Plastique 1960 - 1973, p. 52                                   1000 Lights 1960 to present, p. 120


Artemide, (2002-2003). Artemide Quick reference catalog. Farmingdale, NY: Artemide.

Artemide, (2008-09). Artemide Catalogue 2008-2009. Retrieved January 17, 2009, from Artemide Web site: http://engine.artemide.com/pdfdrake/cataloghi.asp?catCode=cat438125&localizzazione=2

Lacey, S. (2006). Out of this world. The Sydney Morning Herald, Retrieved January 17, 2009, from http://www.smh.com.au/news/house--home/out-of-this-world/2006/11/01/1162278151979.html 

Vercelloni, I. T. (1999). The sixties: Rediscovered design. Farmingdale, NY: Artemide.

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Unknown said...

Artemide lights are well known for its quality and design

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