If I were to choose the most descriptive term to describe Fontana Arte’s overarching design theme, it would be: cutting edge. You can recognize a Fontana Arte light fixture almost immediately: the style, materials used and general aesthetic feel of the pieces come across quite strong. Though all of Fontana Arte’s fixtures were quite unique, there were some overlying characteristics. Many pieces feature sharp lines and edges, jagged shapes, translucent plastic and shiny metal. Many of the products produced by Fontana Arte were light fixtures like pendant lights and sconces, but they also dealt in mirrors and other home accessories occasionally.
To say that Fontana Arte light fixtures look like they’re from the future is not a facetious statement: the cutting edge designs really do look like they could be from a home (or even space ship!) of the future. What makes this idea so unique is that the company is actually quite old. It was started in 1932 by architect Gio Ponti in Italy to be a leader in the advancement of glass manufacturing and design, and they actually dabbled quite strongly in art stain glass in the beginning, being responsible for glass in the Duomo of Milan and the Cathedral of Brasilia. Ponti, being the brilliant design mind that he is, soon realized the potential for these materials as fashionable items in décor, and soon home décor items were being manufactured by Fontana Arte. Over the years, the company has had big name designers work for them, like Pietro Chiesa, Gae Aulenti, Pierluigi Cerri, Piero Castiglioni, Vico Magistretti, Vittorio Gregotti, Ettore Sottsass, Umberto Riva, Alvaro Siza and Renzo Piano.