Farewell to Ernesto Gismondi, entrepreneur and designer of the Politecnico di Milano, an ambassador of Made in Italy

“An empathic engineer, a civic entrepreneur and a pragmatic creative” in the words of Stefano Boeri

Ernesto Gismondi has passed away on the 31st of december 2020: one of the ambassadors of Made in Italy around the world for his avantgarde design, he was the founder and President of Artemide, one of the most known companies in lighting design.

Born on the 25th of december 1931, Gismondi was Alumnus of the Politecnico di Milano in Engineering, as well as being a graduate of missile engineering a the Scuola Superiore di Ingegneria di Roma. He has founded Artemide in Milan in 1960; today, the Artemide Group is one of the most famous lighting companies in the world. Under the guidance of Gismondi the company has collaborated with world famous designers and engineers such as Vico Magistretti, Gio Ponti, Gae Aulenti, Santiago Calatrava, Richard Sapper, Michele De Lucchi and more. Gismondi himself has made a name for himself as international designer and was among the founders of "Memphis", an avantgarde movement that push forward the evolution of design in Italy and around the world.

His visionary entrepreneurial work in Artemide has give him numerous awards, among which we can cite the "Entrepreneur of the year 2008" of Enrst & Young for the category Innovation, the European Design Prize 1997, and numerous Compassi d'oro: in 1967 for the famous Eclisse signed by Vico Magistretti, another famous Alumnus of the Politecnico di Milano, in 1989 for the Tolomeo of Michele De Lucchi and Giancarlo Fassina; in 2004 for the applique Pipe of Herzog & De Meuron and in 2014 for the In-Ei Collection of Issey Miyake.

He has been nominated Cavaliere del Lavoro by President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano in 2008 and in 2018 he has recieved the Compasso d'oro to the career, with the following motivation by the jury: "Areospace engineer, professor and entrepreneur: a man with polyedric interests. Founder of Artemide he has used design characteristics as a distinctive catro and he has develpoed collaborations with the design world in Italy and in the world. A coherent example of how design can be a strategic push for the collective economic and cultural development and he has always worked towards the recognition of italian design on a world stage."

From 1964 to 1984 Gismondi was associated professor at Politecnico di Milano. He has been also vice president of ADI - Associazione Design Industriale and in his long career he has been in charge of numerous institutional roles.

"An empathic engineer, a civic entrepreneur and a pragmatic creative" says Stefano Boeri, celebrating “three competences of his: technological research on materials, the passion for the risk of entrepreneurship and beauty as a border of creativity, that are part of the DNA of italian design."

All images belong to Artemide