Atollo lamp by Vico Magistretti

The word “atoll” inspires images of faraway islands, surrounded by crystal clear water in the Caribbeans, with wooden huts, and as few people as possible. The perfect paradise, isolated, charming, and warm. There is a hammock in the atoll, below the shade of a coconut palm tree. Dreamy, isn’t it? Just like the Atollo lamp designed by Vico Magistretti in 1977.

This object represents the designer’s aesthetic and taste. It’s functional yet elegant. Plus, it’s practical and exclusive. This lamp is the symbol of concept design, meaning an object made with an idea and function in mind. Magistretti didn’t create decorative pieces filled with patterns and fantasies. Instead, he preferred to design pieces for the people and the industry. Mass-production at its finest.

The Specs of The Atollo Lamp

Magistretti designed this lamp for the Italian design company Oluce in 1977. The creator took the traditional idea of the abat-jour, and he readapted it to modern life in the 70s. While the concept comes from a typical object, the Atollo lamp looks anything but traditional. Instead of wood, the Italian designer chose metal for this object. It features geometrical shapes, in particular the dome of the top.

Atollo lamp sketches

But the material isn’t the only innovation in the Atollo lamp. In fact, this design object also features a specific type of lighting. People could choose between direct and soft light, and the intensity can vary. The lamp has a cylindrical base that ends in a cone. This structure supports the dome of the top, which almost looks like floating. Magistretti used the technique of painted aluminum to make sure the external structure stays in the shade. Meanwhile, the light hits the base and the cylinder.

A second version of the Atollo lamp is made of opal glass instead of aluminum. Both materials helped diffuse the light softly and warmly, while the rays reflecting on the cone also helped create a shade. This everyday object is geometrical, and it changed the idea of the abat-jour. Now, with the Atollo lamp, the forms and lines are elegant. And the light fits any space and situation.

Atollo by Vico Magistretti for Oluce

The History Behind It

Vico Magistretti loved geometrical shapes, and his aesthetic aimed at creating everyday, simple objects. They might have looked like simple pieces, but they featured the latest technology. Especially when it came to industrial mass-production. This new era of Italian design aimed at creating a relationship between producers and designers. So, creators worked with the industry to produce functional and ideal pieces for chain production.

Atollo Oluce

This fruitful relationship was possible thanks to companies like Oluce that also collaborated with Marco Zanuso and Joe Colombo. These creators used innovative materials (as opposed to traditional ones like wood) to bring Italian design to the world and the masses. The concept of “home” changed, and it started representing a necessity. Things were supposed to be useful, but that didn’t mean they stopped being stylish. Vico Magistretti believed in the power of design and even architecture, his first love.

The Italian creator loved to find a different perspective on everyday, usual objects in architecture and design. Grandma’s abat-jour is gone, replaced by the Atollo lamp. An object so typical and present in every home became something exclusive, elegant, and simple. The Atollo lamp was so successful it even won the Compasso d’Oro in 1979. Design enthusiasts can still find this lamp nowadays since it has become a collector’s piece. Available in black, white, or gold, this table lamp features any style, room, and occasion. An undying classic.

Atollo lamp black

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