“I don’t particularly love the word ‘design,’ simply because I’m not exactly sure what it means. I prefer saying I write lamps, or that I write stories with light.”
Eclectic: there’s no better word for Davide Groppi. Inspired by Thomas Edison and Caravaggio, he combines industrial and artistic values to design—or, as he prefers, to invent—works that are both breathlessly expressive and technologically innovative.
Growing up in Piacenza, Italy, Groppi assisted his father in building various projects as a hobby—including the first lamp he ever assembled. Groppi noticed that the lamp’s light produced emotion in a way that their other projects—a telegraph, a pinball machine—couldn’t; there was something essential to light as both a force and a material.
As he grew and learned, Groppi would come to understand this essence. He found particular resonance in the work of renaissance painters; their use of chiaroscuro (literally, “lightdark”), a technique that emphasizes a sensual contrast between light and darkness, is brought to life in many of Groppi’s designs, such as the famous Tetatet, with its light so fiercely yet intimately confined, sculpting light in darkness.
From a small workshop in Piacenza, where Davide Groppi founded his eponymous studio in 1988, has grown a new establishment in the world of lighting design, both through Groppi’s discerning eye in selecting other designers for his studio and in Groppi’s own prolific inventions.
Through his commitment to his core values of simplicity, weightlessness, emotion, creative invention, and amazement, Groppi’s inventions are endlessly diverse, from the Simbiosi to the Moon to the 2019 AZ Award-winning Meridiana, each is unique, while still feeling distinctly of Davide Groppi.