Delightful Designs – Arteluce Bean Bag Light

Arteluce Model 600p light – Gino Sarfatti 1966

Designed in that ‘Golden Age’ of Italian design* nearly 50 years ago, it still looks startlingly modern today**. A brilliantly simple concept, taking advantage of the leather and metal-working skills of Northern Italy, the design combines a small leather bag containing lead shot with a lacquered metal shade (in black or white). The soft weighted base allows the light to be positioned at any angle. It also feels satisfyingly heavy at 1.25 kg. It is only 210mm high, and the leather ball is 65mm in diameter.

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Gino Sarfatti (1912-1984) was a Venetian designer best known for designing modern variations of the traditional chandelier for Flos and Arteluce, many of which are still in production. The bean bag light was a design departure for him, and the one he is probably least known for, but a great favourite with Italian design addicts.  What a shame it is no longer made (though I doubt the lead shot would be allowed today!). I still have this one, bought in the 70s, but wish I hadn’t given away a 600g version (slightly larger, without the shade) when the leather bag split open scattering lead shot everywhere!

*It was one of the exhibits in the landmark MoMA New York show in 1972 “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape”. Also at the show was the original ‘bean bag’ chair, the Sacco, produced by Zanotta and designed in 1968 by Gatti, Paolini, and Teodoro.

**Brought right up to date with a led golf ball light bulb!

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