Gaetano Sciolari Orbit Chandelier
Materials: Classic candlestick style lampshade made of chromed metal (iron and brass) curved and straight rods and tubes. Decorated with brushed aluminium parts. Chrome chain & canopy. Some metal parts. 15 Bakelite E14 sockets.
Chain Length: 40 cm / 15.74”
Height: 75 cm / 29.52”
Width: ∅ 77 cm / 30.31”
Electricity: 15 bulbs E14, 15 x 40 watt maximum, 110/220 volt.
Any type of light bulb can be used, not a specific one preferred.
Period: 1960s – Mid-Century Modern.
Designer: Angelo Gaetano Sciolari (1927-1994).
Manufacturer: Sciolari, Milan and Rome, Italy.
Other versions: This Gaetano Sciolari Orbit chandelier exists in several variations: more or less lamps, on a chain, completely in brass, and so on. Also made as wall lamps and a floor lamp.
The 1960s versions have a different canopy as the 1970s edition, as you can see below. The left one is 60s. The right one is 70s and most of the time the label is inside the canopy. This one is a seventies lamp. The name of this chandelier is Orbit. A very similar lamp is the Scultura or Sculptura. They are often confused with each other. In the catalogue pictures by Lightolier you can see the difference.
But, to complete the confusion, the Danish Lyfa sold these lamps as Scultura…
Versions of this chandelier were also produced by all the companies named below. They have all different canopies and labels, if present.
Unfortunately many copies exists. Companies such as Massive from Belgium made their version, as you can see. The company is notorious for the copies they produced over the years.
Angelo Gaetano Sciolari
Angelo Sciolari graduated with a degree in architecture but wanted to be a filmmaker. This course came to an abrupt end when in 1949 his father suddenly died and he took over the Sciolari Lighting company at the age of 22.
His first designs in the fifties were Sputnik inspired pendants; of course it was the space age.
In the 1960s he created refined, futuristic and sharp classical style chandeliers. Lines were clean and sculptural and materials such as crystal and ice glass sparkled with a voluptuously luxurious coolness and he started combining brass with chrome.
He led the family business with a passionate vision and within years, he expanded the business and started working with other light companies worldwide.
Gaetano Sciolari created lights for Stilnovo and Stilkronen (Italy), Lightolier and Progress Lighting (USA), S.A. Boulanger (Belgium), Helestra and Leola (West Germany), Lyfa (Denmark) and some other companies and of course for his own Italian family business; the Sciolari company in Rome and Milan; where all the lighting business at that time was present.
Sciolari was the founder and the first president of the trade association of Italian manufacturers of lighting fixtures, the AIDI. The Associazione Italiana di Illuminazione was founded in 1958 and still exists today.
Lamps in the movies
A Gaetano Sciolari Scultura chandelier was used as a prop in the 1979 Hong Kong–American science fiction disaster film Meteor. Starring Sean Connery, Natalie Wood and Karl Malden.
Gaetano Sciolari Orbit chandelier – 1970s copy by Massive Belgium
These chandeliers are often sold as made by Sciolari, but they are not!
To quote George Kovacs, a well know American designer: “A copy is a good idea that lost it’s soul”.