Gae Aulenti, Italian, (1927-2012).
Gae Aulenti (December 4, 1927 – October 31, 2012) was an Italian architect, lighting and interior designer, and industrial designer. She was one of the few well recognized women that worked in Italian postwar design. Throughout her career, Aulenti's multi-facetted talent contributed greatly to the evolution of art, architecture and design. She was well known for several large-scale museum projects, including Musee d'Orsay in Paris (1980–86), the Contemporary Art Gallery at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Palazzo Grassi in Venice (1985–86), and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (2000–2003). She created many elegant furniture and lighting pieces such as the classic Pipistrello Lamp & the Ruspa Lamp by Martinelli Luce and the Tour Table for Fontana Arte.
Gae Aulenti (pronounced Guy) was born in Palazzolo dello Stella, Italy in 1927. She graduated from the Milan Polytechnic Institute in 1953. In the early eighties she was the artistic director at FontanaArte, creating timeless lamps and furnishing elements for the company that are still in the catalogue. In particular: the Giova lamp (1964), Tavolo con ruote table (1980) and Tour table (1993). Together with Piero Castiglioni he designed: the Parola family of lamps (1980), wall lamps Diamante (1986) and Calle (1988), and the Diastema spot light (1994). Her architectonic projects are many and prestigious and include: refurbishment and a new layout for the Musee d'Orsay (1980-86) and the Musee National d'Art Moderne at the Centre Pompidou (1982-85); refurbishment of Palazzo Grassi in Venice (1985-86); the new entrance for Santa Maria Novella station in Florence (1990); Palazzo Italia at EXPO 1992 in Seville; restoration of the Scuderie Papali at the Quirinale in Rome (1999); renovation of Piazzale Cadorna in Milan (2000); the Museo and Dante stations on underground line 1 and redesign of Piazza Cavour and Piazza Dante in Naples (1999-2002); the new Asian Art Museum in San Francisco (1996-2003); the Catalan Museum of Art in Barcelona (1985-2004); restoration of the Palavela in Turin for the Winter Olympic Games in 2006; the institute of culture in Tokyo (2006); restoration of Palazzo Branciforte in Palermo and transformation into a museum (2011). She received many prizes and awards, including: Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur (Paris), Honorary Member of the American Institute of Architects – Hon. FAIA; Praemium Imperiale for Architecture (Tokyo), “Knight Grand Cross” of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Rome), honorary degree in the Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, USA).