With work that spans furniture, graphics, public and private interiors, exhibitions, renovations, and, most prolifically, lighting, Milanese designer-entrepreneur Paolo Rizzatto is most saliently remembered as the founder of Luceplan, the Italian lighting brand qua spiritual successor to Gino Sarfatti’s pioneering Arteluce , which, in 1974, was absorbed into Flos.
Born in Milan in 1941, Rizzatto attended his hometown technical university—Politecnico di Milano—whose alumni list includes Marco Zanuso Jr., Fratelli Castiglioni, ,Tito Agnoli, , , and Patricia Urquiola. After graduating in 1965, Rizzatto went to work for lighting company Arteluce, for whom he designed his tour-de-force, swiveling, gravity-defying Mod 265 Wall Lamp (1973), which featured 360-degree rotation for aiming light in any direction. Flos still produces it today.
In 1968, Rizzatto laid the groundwork for his eponymous architectural studio; in 1972 he unveiled his first architectural project, Segrate Daycare Center. He maintained a steady architectural output into the following decades, as he further cultivated his sensibility for smaller-scale design, often returning to light fixtures, especially for workspaces. He soon consolidated his efforts in this area, alongside Gino Sarfetti’s son Ricardo, with the founding of Luceplan in 1978. The sleek, lightweight-aluminum D7 Light (1981), created by Rizzatto in collaboration with Sandro Colbertaldo for Luceplan, garnered a Compasso d’ Oro in 1981.
Other award-winning designs by Rizzatto for Luceplan include the Berenice Desk Lamp (1987), developed in cooperation with Alberto Meda; the futuristic-looking Lola Floor Light (1989); the maritime-flavored Metropoli Wall Light (1994); the delicately economic Mix LED Desk Lamp (2005); and the diamond-like Hope family of refracting lights (2011), designed alongside Argentinian designer Francisco Gomez Pas. Rizzatto’s immensely popular Constanza (1986) and Constanzina (1992) series can be found in New York’s Museum of Modern Art collection.
Never one to leave a stone unturned, Rizzatto has frequently engaged the world of furniture design, and, in the past decades, has cultivated a portfolio which includes tables, seating, and accessories for Artemide, Cassina, Danese, Knoll Inc. / Knoll International, Kartell, Molteni, Philips, Poltrona Frau, and Thonet, among others. Alongside his frenetic design work, Rizzatto has also held lecturing positions at the Architecture Institute of Moscow, Columbia University of New York, IUAV in Venice, and his alma matter, the Milan Polytechnic University.