F.A.A.I. Arredo Prisma Table Lamps or Wall Lamps
Materials: Cast aluminium cuboid lamps. Painted dark blue and white and red and white. Galvanised iron bottom plate. 4 plastic screws that serve as feet. 1 has a built-in dimmer and transformer. Bakelite sockets.
Height: 18 cm / 7.08”
Width: 9 x 9 cm / 3.54 x 3.54”
Electricity: 1 bulb E14, 1 x 30 watt maximum, 110/220 volt.
Not any type of light bulb can be used, it has to be a small spotlight.
The lamp with the dimmer is different. It uses 1 bulb BA15, 1 x 30 watt maximum, 12 Volt. It got a built-in transformer 220 Volt to 12 Volt.
Period: 1970s – Mid-Century Modern.
Designer: To be appraised.
Manufacturer: F.A.A.I. Arredo, Cremona, Italy.
Other versions: These geometric, cuboid/beam F.A.A.I. Arredo Prisma table lamps were made in many colours. These lamps have 4 recesses to hang them on the wall.
Nothing to be found about F.A.A.I. Arredo. Arredo is the Italian word for furniture or decoration. F.A.A.I. Arredo must be long gone and it looks like they only produced these table or wall lamps.
The company was located in Cremona. Cremona is a city in northern Italy, situated in Lombardy, on the left bank of the Po River. It is the capital of the province of Cremona. Cremona is also the hometown of the famous Stradivarius violins made by Antonio Stradivari.
Some people say that this lamp was designed by Meo Caffi. No proof to be found about this attribution. The lamps are labelled, fortunately, but only with a label FAAI Arredo Cremona and a label F.A.A.I. Made in Italy.
The only result for Meo Caffi is a “Chronicon antiquum” book from 1616 in Latin by Léon de Marsico. Meo is me and Caffi could be a name: Me Caffi. Other translations say “my coffee”.
All the electric parts were produced by VLM Components in the 60s and early 70s. The company was founded in 1945 in Buccinasco, a small village near Milan, Italy. The company became famous for the switches they produce since 1968, designed by Achille Castiglioni.
VLM is part of the Relco Group, founded in 1967. Today they are the owners of the brands Relco, Leuci, Relco Lighting, VLM and Segno.
The Fase company was founded by self-made man Pedro Martin and designer Luis Pérez de la Oliva in 1964, some sources say 1966. The Boomerang lamp was one of their first designs. Initially they sold their self-produced lamps to the markets in and around the capital Madrid before successfully opening a factory in Torrejón de Ardoz on the outskirts of the city.
They produced mainly lamps, but also ashtrays and other products such as office bins and coat racks.
Fase supplied many lamps to the offices of General Franco‘s dictatorial government and the Guardia Civil, some sort of military police. From 1975 on, after the death of Franco and the end of the regime, Fase started with Italian Modern and Bauhaus-inspired designs. The Spaniards were unfamiliar with this design because of the Franco regime that ruled the country with an iron fist and allowed few foreign influences.
During the 70s Fase exported lamps to Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Great Britain, Norway, France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Hong Kong, Morocco, the United States and Canada. In total in more than 32 countries.
In the 1980s Fase jumped on the bandwagon of the halogen lighting. The break with tradition proved unsuccessful and ultimately contributed to the end of the business. A large fine of the Treasury in the early nineties for tax irregularities was the end for Fase. The company was officially dissolved in 1996.
Drowned, the company sold its manufacturing license to a German brand, Ma-Of, which slightly modified the original design by adding more chrome. Before these final death rattles, the partners had already separated. Luis Pérez de la Oliva had created his own brand Lupela, another flagship of Spanish design. GEI (Gabinete Estudios Industriales – Cabinet Industrial Studies) was another company that sold similar lamps. Also Massive from Belgium produced a few lamps in this style.
When the company stopped producing them abruptly, there was a lot of ‘stock’ available in the warehouses. That’s why you find relatively many lamps with a label attached. Many lamps are sold new and never used in the box (NOS – New Old Stock).
Designers who have worked for the company include: Gabriel Teixidó. He designed the Iberia and Meca series and Tomás Díaz Magro, responsible for the Apolo, Minifase and Impala lamps. The most productive was Luis Pérez de la Oliva, who designed the majority of the Fase lamps.
Fase also sold lamps made by others such as the Yamada Shomei ‘Manon’ table lamp from Japan. You can find it over here on Vintageinfo. The Prisma table lamp was produced in Italy by F.A.A.I. Arredo. Also the Sinus stacking ashtray made by Helit from Germany. A design by Walter Zeischegg from 1967. You can find it here in the MoMA, New York.