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Gae Aulenti

Gae Aulenti (1927- 2012) was a prolific Italian architect whose field of work covered industrial and exhibition design, furniture, graphic design, stage design, lighting and interior design.
Gae was born in the city of Palazzolo della Stella, near Trieste, and was educated at the Faculty of Architecture of the Milan Polytechnic Institute in 1959. There were only two girls in the group: the profession of an architect at that time was considered purely masculine. She was one of the few women to design in the post-war period.
Aulenti became known for several large-scale museum projects, including the Gallery of Modern Art at the Pompidou Center in Paris, the restoration of the Palazzo Grassi in Venice (1985-1986), the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, and the project to turn the old railway station into the Orsay Museum ( Musee dOrsay) in Paris brought Gay Aulenty world fame and the Legion of Honor.
Among the works of Gae are also furniture and lamps. For example, the Locus Solus collection is outdoor furniture with bright finishes and colorful textiles, with a reliable frame made of metal tubes (the designer often used them in furniture). The range, reprinted by the Exteta brand, includes a deck chair, sofa, armchairs, chairs, dining and coffee tables, as well as a lamp.
Gae Aulenti came up with her first lamp in 1964: this is the “Giova” model, at the same time a table lamp and a vase for dry or cut flowers. A blown glass vase is lowered into a transparent bowl with a light source inside. In 2017, the cult object was re-issued by the Fontana Arte factory. The most famous of her desk lamps, Pipistrello, that is, the “bat”, was invented for the Paris showroom Olivetti, and then went into production and quickly became a cult object. In 2015, the Martinelli Luce factory celebrated the 50th anniversary of the legendary model and released an anniversary version with a glossy gilded base.
Gae designed the interiors of not only villas, but also sailing ships. Aprils lightweight folding chair, which Zanotta produced, was designed just for the house on the water. Aulenti was the author of celebrity villas, made showrooms for Fiat and designed windows for Olivetti, created pens and watches for Louis Vuitton.
In the early 1980s, Gae Aulenti became the artistic director of Fontana Arte. The Tavolo con Ruote coffee table, part of the New York MOMA collection, was created during this period. Moreover, it was created instantly, as soon as Gae Aulenti saw a cart on which glass was transported at the Fontana Arte factory.
In December 2012, a square next to the Milan transport hub - Garibaldi station was named after Gae Aulenti.