The term “vintage” decor has never looked so exclusive and elegant. Just ask Afra and Tobia Scarpa, the creators of the Biagio lamp. In 2022, this might be a vintage piece since it dates back to the 1960s. But this lamp is still relevant today as it was decades ago when the two Italian designers made it for the company Flos in 1968. It represents the innovative philosophy of Afra and Tobia Scarpa, but it also represents the beauty and wealth of Italy.
The Biagio lamp is an elegant piece of Carrara marble, an authentic Italian natural beauty. Not only. This unique creation also represents the advancement in techniques and tools, a push towards more modern ways of working the marble’s complex material. The lamp is a true symbol of the avant-garde Italian design movement, made of industrial-style aesthetic and modern technology. The result? The Biagio lamp by Afra and Tobia Scarpa.
The Specs of the Biagio Lamp
Truthfully, the description of this piece of decor is simple, like the object itself. The first version featured holes and cuts, where the separate parts of marble fit into an elegant puzzle. Two glued shelves created the final result. A later version was made of one piece of Carrara material, with no cuts and no holes. One simple yet elegant marble disk became the Biagio lamp, a marble shape.
While the description is simple, producing the lamp wasn’t. In fact, when Afra and Tobia Scarpa needed new tools and machines to work this strong material. And none of these tools was available at the cave in the 60s. So, the two designers had to build their own machines, designed to turn one disk into the Biagio lamp.
So they used a milling machine to create a piece that was both ergonomic and gorgeous. The device allowed the designers to shape marble, making it more malleable and even creative. It’s the meeting between machine and man. Or the meeting between logic and feelings. New technology created something warm and unique, made to last through the decades.
The Story Behind the Lamp
Mathematics and nature meet in the Biagio lamp. Just like they meet in the philosophy of the designers Afra and Tobia Scarpa. These two designers are part of post-World War II’s modern and innovative design movement. In an era of industry and progress, this movement wanted to create a new industrial design idea. But not without forgetting traditional and natural materials, such as wood and leather.
Hence, creations like the Biagio lamp, which combines the best of both worlds. Designers and companies like Flos looked for a new aesthetic, still authentic yet modern. While they didn’t believe in modern and mass-production materials like plastic, these designers and companies believed in progress. And, with projects like the Biagio lamp, they managed to combine both.
Afra and Tobia Scarpa symbolized the push for the new, with an eye always on the old. In their works, past and present united to create an aesthetic that was almost futuristic. In the 60s, working on one big disk of Carrara marble was difficult. But, in true avant-garde fashion, the two designers solved the issue with a solution out of the future.
So, contemporary sellers and experts might describe the Biagio lamp as “vintage.” Vintage because it was made in the 60s. But if this lamp is anything, it is innovative, elegant, and unique. It is innovative for the technology, brilliant in design, and unique in its material. Dare we say a timeless piece of design.