Many thanks to Lluís from Eclectique Vintage for the photos and the enthusiasm.
Stilnovo Topo Clamp Lamp
Materials: Black painted metal clamp with a chrome screw and parts. Adjustable chrome rods. Black plastic parts. Chromed metal lampshade. Black plastic handle on top. Built-in switch. Some metal parts. White painted Bakelite E27 socket.
Lampshade: 20 cm / 7.87”
Height: 80 cm / 31.49”
Electricity: 1 bulb E27, 1 x 75 watt maximum, 110/220 volt.
Any type of light bulb can be used, not a specific one preferred.
Period: 1970s – Mid-Century Modern.
Designer: Joe Colombo in 1970.
Manufacturer: Stilnovo, Milan, Italy.
Other versions: This Stilnovo Topo clamp lamp exists in several colours. It was produced in slight variations and sizes over the year. Made with a stamped label in the metal of the lampshade and made with a glued label. Probably because other companies also sold the Topo series. They were made as table lamps, desk lamps, floor lamps, wall lamps and clamp lamps.
Today (2021) new versions are for sale via the Stilnovo website.
Joe Cesare Colombo
Joe Colombo was born in 1930 in Milan, Italy and went to school at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts (Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera), where he studied painting and sculpture. Until 1954 he studied Architecture at Politecnico di Milano (Polytechnic University of Milan).
A year later, in 1955 Colombo joined the Art Concept Group, and gave up his painting to promote his design career.
Colombo had to take over the family company in 1959, which produced electric appliances. He started to experiment with new construction and production technologies and in 1962 Colombo opened his own interior design and architecture projects.
Joe Colombo designed products for Oluce, Kartell, Alessi, Bieffe, Boffi, Flexform, and of course Stilnovo.
Joe Colombo passed away in 1971 on his birthday. He was only 41 years old.
Founded in Milan in 1946 by Bruno Gatta, Stilnovo was one of the most important lighting company’s of Italy in the post World War II industry.
Stilnovo worked with a large number of leading designers, including Gaetano Sciolari, Joe Colombo, Gae Aulenti, Alberto Fraser, Ettore Sottsass, Danilo & Corrado Aroldi, Cini Boeri, Jonathan De Pas, Donato D’Urbino, Paolo Lomazzi, Antonio Macchi Cassia, Roberto Beretta and so on. The company ended business in 1988.
All Stilnovo lamps are marked with the Stilnovo name; many early pieces also include the original sticker “Stilnovo Milan”.
The new Stilnovo
The company is long gone but in 2017 “The Stilnovo Scientific Committee” was formed. The members are: Decio G.R. Carugati, Roberto Fiorato, Francesco Morace, Danilo Premoli, Franco Pagliarini and Andrea Cucci. The company is named: Stilnovo Italia Srl.
Text from the new Stilnovo website:
“In order to pick up the traces of Stilnovo and bring them into the future a Scientific Committee was formed. The team has already produced a Manifest with its definition of guidelines and necessary criteria for future creations. With indications for ideas about the identity of a brand name which does not ignore its historical past: on the contrary, it is exalted.
The recreation of important iconic pieces and the use of new stimuli of Italian and international design in order to create completely new pieces represent just some of the plans for Stilnovo, which in themselves will bring new stimuli and lively collaboration among craftsmen and planners in order to guarantee as always 100% Made in Italy products.”
Lamps in the movies
A Stilnovo Topo clamp lamp was used as a prop in the French TV series Dix Pour Cent (10%). English title: Call My Agent. In this episode, season 3, episode 2 from 2018, the guest star is Monica Bellucci.