Didier Krzentowski, the owner of Parisian Galerie kreo, has been collecting lamps for over 30 years and has been exhibiting vintage ones since 2012. Lumières à l'italienne is an exhibition at the gallery bringing together an historic collection of rare Italian designs, mostly from the 1950s and 1960s, that are no longer in production.

Numerous floor, wall and table lamps by the celebrated Gino Sarfatti – a self-taught designer who developed nearly 700 light fittings between the mid-1930s and early 1970s – fill much of the space. Mostly in red, yellow and white fixtures, or with frosted glass, the shapes are characterised by their purist beauty. Sarfatti trained in engineering and his pursuit of design was one of enquiry. Other designs are by Vittoriano Vigano, Stilnova, Joe and Gianni Colombo, Tito Agnoli and Gregotti/Meneghetti/Stoppino, among others. The designs have been carefully arranged according to style and colour.

Lampadaire Stilnovo, courtesy Galerie kreo.
These are the kinds of lamps that brightened up Italian interiors in the decades following the Second World War and the dictatorial regime of Mussolini's National Fascist Party. Artists and architects moved to the US, where they discovered industrialised products and the impact of advertising. In this new optimistic spirit, Italian architects and designers began making rounder, more colourful designs in the 1950s, gleefully turning their backs on the austerity of the 1930s. The diversity of creation, and how designers became increasingly experimental and audacious in terms of desiring new shapes, comes forth in the show.

The exhibition runs parallel to that on the Enlightened '50s on vintage French lighting by designers such as Pierre Guariche, Michel Mortier, Joseph-André Motte, Jean-Boris Lacroix and Jacques Biny in Galerie kreo's London space, until 24 March 2016.

All images courtesy of Galerie kreo. Courtesy Laurent Edeline for the group shots.