Future Classic | Roy Tavolo Table Lamp

  • WORDS Stephen Crafti
  • est living future classics roy tavolo table lamp 750x540

    We’re bringing the Roy Tavolo Table Lamp by Mario Nanni for Viabizzuno to the front in the first instalment of our Future Classic series.

    It usually requires the distance of time before something becomes ‘iconic’. Sometimes, what is simply taken for granted when first released becomes highly coveted with the passage of time. And with this hindsight, comments include, ‘it was always iconic and time would tell’. So rather than wait 50 years, the Future Classic series shines a light on more recent heroic designs, whether this takes the form of a chair, a light, a coffee table or even a simple utilitarian appliance found in one’s kitchen.

    Mario Nanni’s Roy Tavolo Table Lamp, produced by Viabizzuno, is most likely to be referred to as ‘iconic’ in the not-too-distant future. The classic and elegant table lamp, also conceived as a wall light and a floor lamp, was designed in 1994.

    Mario Nanni had no formal training in design but came from an Italian family who could turn their hands to anything. As a child, Mario would build nativity scenes for the Parish of Santa Maria in Bizzuno, emulating a sense of daylight. At the age of 12, Mario was working alongside his father and grandfather as an electrician. He was later to work with some of the great architects of our time, including Peter Zumthor, to illuminate The Therme Vals in Switzerland and the more sombre lighting for David Chipperfield’s Inagawa Cemetry in Japan.

    It was, in fact, David Chipperfield who initiated the design for the Roy Tavolo Table Lamp, commissioning Mario to create the lighting for the public spaces at the Hotel Café Royal, as well as for the hotel’s guest suites. Given the heritage listing for this hotel, with the rooms’ richly embellished ceilings and walls, it was important to create something that was fine, almost recessive, to the lavish interiors.

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    The Roy Tavolo Table Lamp photographed in the Teatro Garibaldi, Palermo, Italy. Photography courtesy of Viabizzuno.

    So, whether Mario’s Roy lights appear against a wall, a heavily decorative ceiling cornice or are placed on wide original timber floors, there’s a sense of lightness, almost weightlessness, that’s been achieved. This lightness has made the Roy Tavolo Table Lamp popular with architects and designers today, allowing the spaces to be beautifully illuminated without ‘intruding’ in a room.

    Mathieson Architects included the Roy Tavolo Table Lamp by Mario Nanni for viabizzuno in an apartment in Millers Point, Sydney. Mathieson Architects director Phillip Mathieson sees Mario’s design as ‘a modern classic’, with its ‘elegant form’ featured in many of their projects’ carefully curated spaces. “You can easily rotate the head of the lamp with the touch of a finger. It feels as though it’s barely there,” says Mathieson, who appreciates the light’s quality as well as its quietness. “It doesn’t scream for attention. It’s not faddish. It will remain a classic in 10 years and well into the future.”

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    Photography courtesy of Viabizzuno

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