FontanaArte was born in Milan in 1932 from the encounter between the architect Gio Ponti and the glass manufacturing entrepreneur Luigi Fontana. The brand produces lamps for the indoor and the outdoor with an unmistakable and timeless personality, concepts that become light and that, as time goes by, also come to be true icons born out of the exploration of Italian modernity. Over almost one hundred years activity, the brand has been given numerous acknowledgments. Among these, the Compasso d’Oro award for the career in 1998, for having managed to create a thriving environment through the collaboration with several project designers.
World-renowned architect and designer Gaetana “Gae” Aulenti (1927-2012) graduated with a degree in architecture in Milano in 1954. A ten-year collaboration with the historic magazine Casabella-Continuità (1955-1965) turned out to be of key importance in her development.
After important participations in the Triennale di Milano in 1960 and 1963, she undertook profitable partnerships with Olivetti, Fiat, Max Mara and Knoll, designing showrooms, offices and exhibitions in Italy and abroad.
In addition to her industrial design projects Aulenti’s long career includes interior architecture and a series of major renovation projects, including the Gare d’Orsay in Paris, transformed into a museum (1986); Palazzo Grassi in Venice (1986); the National Museum of Catalan Art in Barcelona (1995); the Scuderie Papali in Rome (2000); and the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco (2003).
She also designed sets for RAI, Teatro la Scala in Milan, and Odéon-Comédie Française in Paris and worked with Luca Ronconi at the theatre design workshop in Prato (1976-1979).
Aulenti has taught at IUAV in Venice and at Politecnico di Milano. The many awards she has won include a Legion of Honour in France (1987) and the Praemium Imperiale in Japan (1991).