fontana arte

Architect Gio Ponti founded FontanaArte in 1932 as an artistic division in the company Luigi Fontana, historically, the company leader in advanced glass manufacturing and design. The design company s works were first distinguished by the realization of artistic stained-glass windows, many of which are today still functional elements and ornamental in churches and cathedrals, amongst them the Duomo of Milan and the cathedral of Brasilia. By using glass, architect Ponti realized what an enormous potential this material could offer in the in the making of furnishing complements for interiors. Urged by this intuition he started to design and produce furniture, lamps and objects with glass as the main distinguishing feature; in a short time a new collection was ready to be marketed, and his new design concept was being used as a complement to the interior decoration of many houses that he personally designed. FontanaArte s fame, linked to glass and design, continues to grow thanks to the interpretations of Gio Ponti and the insightful collaboration of Pietro Chiesa. The company s growth in those years was remarkable, up until an important international group buys FontanaArte by the means of the Luigi Fontana s acquisition. The very rigid industrial culture of the group, so much tied up to the idea of producing big numbers had the business managers adopt the wrong strategic choices, damaging the marriage between glass and design.

In 1979 a private group buys the company. Among the buyers there is Carlo Guglielmi, who, being the only one working directly in within the company,  is appointed Chief Executive. To re-launch the company, a winning strategy is designed: the aim is to rebuild the original concept it was born with, using big names in the architectural field and glass designing as the main production element. Well-known architects are established to provide consultancy with conceptual matters as well as with design. Gae Aulenti is the Art Director, Pierluigi Cerri, who is a partner for the Studio Gregotti Company, becomes Graphic Consultant for the company s image. Piero Castiglioni is the Lighting Engineer and Franco Raggi and Daniela Puppa are in charge of all special events. In addition to the designers, others are then called in to collaborate: Gregotti, Sottsass, Riva, Siza, Piano. All of these talented architects ensure a very high design quality.

In 1992, FontanaArte buys the company Candle, an innovative lighting company. Within this division, young, talented architects develop products based on new technologies and initiate a program. In the same year FontanaArte opens a new Showroom in Los Angeles. This is in addition to the Italian showrooms in Milan, located in Via Montenapoleone, and in Rome, in Via Giulia. In 1993, the division Schopenhauer is created and assigned to it is the continuation of manufacturing the design concept of complements for interiors. In 1996, FontanaArte acquires the registered trademark Naskaloris, this prestigious name is linked to specific lighting manufacturing of office and work environments. By October of the same year the division FontanaArte Architectural is created; because it gathers all the technical products coming from the different collections of the group, this division will be used as the main tool to approach the contract market.

In 1997, compelled by the variety of trademarks to manage and by the fact that a bigger connection between the market and the project was needed, Carlo Guglielmi, takes on the role of Art Director. By November 1997, the new FontanaArte showroom opening takes place in downtown Milan, in Via S. Margherita 4. With all its 10763 square meters, the showroom is destined for new product presentations, meetings and events dedicated to design, art and architecture.

In 1998, a new line, Oggetti, is born.

From the year 2000, the internal division Contract, thanks to the collaboration of the architects Chipperfield, Raggi, Patetta, and Valent, reaches new important achievements. In 2003, the collection Schopenhauer becomes Arredo e Oggetti and it returns to favour glass as the main distinguishing element of complements for interiors and objects. The year 2004 is characterized by the enlargement of the Italian Corsico s office, with the foundation of the FontanaArte Corp. in the USA, the opening of a new showroom in New York and finally with the opening of new offices in Shanghai.

In the year 2005 FontanaArte opens a new showroom in Paris.

In the year 2006 the need to strengthen in the market the brand FontanaArte also for the contract field determined the publication of two catalogues, one specially for the domestic field and the other one for the technical light-fittings with products for outdoor and indoor. The above mentioned choice has been supported by important productive investments  for the realisation of new models that meet a lot of interest among the visitors in April at the fair Light & Building in Frankfurt, thus improving the range of products already in production. In the meantime, in the philosophy of FontanaArte, the company goes on to collaborate with important architects like Norman Foster, and with young Italian architects like Marco Acerbis, Marco Mascetti, Marco Merendi and foreign ones such as Julian Pastorino and Cecilia Suarez and Peter Christian.

In 2007 FontanaArte Corp., operating for three years in the US and Canadian market, moves its logistical headquarter to Atlanta and doubles its commercial presence in the US. In october FontanaArte starts to operate in the Asian and Australian market through a Chinese subsidiary. At the same time a showroom is opened in Shanghai in the Luwan District, an elegant historical area in the old French Concession.

In 2009 FontanaArte Corp. moves its showroom in New York from Tribeca to Soho, one of the most exciting district of the Big Apple, place of art galleries and showcase of the Italian excellence in the design field. Projected by Architect Piero Russi on a area of almost 300 square meters  divided into three levels, the new store offers, such us all the other flagship stores belonging to the Group, the products of the two brands, Fontanaarte and Fontanaarte Architectural.

Since December 2010, FontanaArte has been able to rely on the sound industrial base and the new international initiative of Nice S.p.A., a group that designs, produces and sells automation systems for gates, garage doors, road barriers, parking systems, solar screens and wireless alarm systems: an ideal partnership between two excellent examples of Made in Italy design and production, which have always focused on design and innovation for the home.