Vintage “Polimnia” mid-century floor lamp by Studio BBPR for Artemide

A rare piece, designed by the same studio behind the Velasca tower.



Studio BBPR was one of the most relevant professional practices in mid-century Italy. Its founders were Banfi, Barbiano di Belgiojoso, Peressutti and Rogers, and by now you have probably realised where the name of the studio came from.
The four fellow architects had met on the desks of Politecnico di Milano in the late 1920s, and by 1932 had already established their creative collaboration.

However, they are remember and celebrated for their post-war work, as through their projects they played a fundamental role in the reconstruction of a destroyed Milano. Theirs is the Velasca tower, possibly the most recognisable building in town; as is the Hoepli building, formerly the offices of the Chase Manhattan bank’s Italian branch.

The BBPRs occasionally worked as designers too; well known is their work for Olivetti, that resulted in the famous “Dattilo” series. Lesser known is instead the series of lamps and lighting fixtures they designed, mostly in collaboration with Italian brand Artemide. The present lamp, a “Polimnia”, was designed in 1964 – and indeed manufactured by Artemide.

It’s a well refinished and extremely detailed floor lamp, manufactured from stainles steel – as opposed to chrome metal, back then the most popular (and cheaper) material. The opaque glass lampshade on top is heavily ribbed, and produces a nice effect of light diffusion. The thin legs almost seem to anticipate the forthcoming space age, with their shape reminiscent of the Apollo lunar module that of course wouldn’t come to being before five years.

It is extremely well preserved, and presented in all original condition, plug and switch included. It is fully functioning, and has been inspected by a professional electrician to ensure safety of use.