People + Places

Ernesto Gismondi: A Retrospective


This past week we were deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Ernesto Gismondi, the founder of the pioneering Milanese design company Artemide Group. His legacy will continue to be felt in the lighting world, as he has brought many iconic designs to the world both as the leader of Artemide and a designer himself. As we celebrate his life and legacy, let us take a retrospective look back at his storied career.

Discovery LED Vertical Suspension Light by Ernesto Gismondi from Artemide

Ernesto began his legendary career in lighting in 1960 by co-founding Studio Artemide S.a.s., which later become Artemide Group, with designer Sergio Mazza.

Effetto Square Outdoor LED Wall Light by Ernesto Gismondi from Artemide

He quickly became a world-renowned designer and went on to pioneer “Memphis” design, an avant-garde movement that began in Italy and continues to influence Italian design as well as modern design globally.

Miconos Pendant Light by Ernesto Gismondi from Artemide

At the helm of Aremide Group, Gismondi guided the company to being a top international design label and he won a few awards along the way, including the Compasso d’Oro Award for Career achievements (1994) and the European Design Prize (1997). His business acumen did not go unrecognized either, winning the Ernst & Young Prize “Entrepeneur of the Year” for Innovation Category in 2008. Giorgio Napolitano, the President of the Italian Republic, appointed him “Cavaliere del Lavoro”, an Italian decoration given to important figures in industry. Then again in 2009 he received the Ernst & Young Prize “Entrepeneur of the Year” for Communication Category.

Nur Pendant Light by Ernesto Gismondi from Artemide

The crown jewel of Gismondi’s decorated career arrived in 2018 when he was awarded the Compasso D’Oro for Lifetime Achievement. A translation of the jury’s reasoning for the award says it better than we ever could: “Aerospace engineer, university lecturer and entrepreneur, in short: man of multifaceted talent. Founder of Artemide, he immediately uses design processes as a distinctive factor and in this long process encourages and enhances collaborations with the world of national and international design. A coherent example of how design can be a concrete strategic lever for cultural and economic growth, it has always worked so that Italian design can be a virtuous example at an international level.”

Bravo, Ernesto Gismondi. Bravo.

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Team Y

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