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RicercheID: 1004

Historical research process and considerations on primary sources in the case of Gino Sarfatti – Arteluce

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This article is a critical account of the process and modes of a research study conducted by the author and dedicated to the entrepreneur and designer Gino Sarfatti and to his lighting manufacturing company, Arteluce. Despite its relevance at the moment of its development, this story – which took place in Milan between the late 1930s and the first half of the 1970s – has mostly been overlooked since the company closed in 1974. Twenty years later, in 1994, the author had the opportunity to begin exploring Arteluce and Sarfatti’s work in greater depth: begun within the context of her MA thesis, this exploration developed into the publication of a long article and finally, in 2012, of a monograph. At a distance of several years, the research into the case of Sarfatti-Arteluce gives the author an opportunity to reflect on the use of sources. On the one hand, the article discusses several issues concerning the use of oral history and information pertaining to collecting practices; on the other, it considers the use of the digitization process and its relevance to the work of the design historian.

This article is only available in Italian.


Questo articolo è stato pubblicato in AIS/Design Storia e Ricerche, numero 10 dicembre 2017
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Paola Proverbio

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Paola Proverbio graduated in Architecture from the Politecnico di Milano and received a PhD in Design Sciences from the Università Iuav in Venice. She teaches Theory and History of Design and Contemporary Architecture at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and at the Istituto Europeo di Design. A scholar of Design Culture, she focuses on the evolution of design, in particular with regard to the Italian industry of light fittings and to contemporary decorative arts – on these subjects she has also held courses at the Politecnico di Milano. Since 2010 she has been carrying out research on the relationship between product design and photography. She has served as scientific consultant for the establishment of digital historical archives (Arteluce, Danese, Flos) and as a consultant for the iconographic archive of Domus magazine. She has collaborated with CASVA (Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts of the Municipality of Milan) for the study and cataloguing of design and architecture archives. Among her latest publications, “La ‘fotografia di design’ a Milano. Note per una storia fra gli anni Cinquanta e Sessanta”, in Milano 1945 – 1980. Mappa e volto di una città. Per una geostoria dell’arte (edited by E. Di Raddo, Franco Angeli, 2015); Design e immaginario. Oggetti, immagini e visioni fra rappresentazione e progetto (co-edited with R. Riccini, Il Poligrafo, 2016); “Come Angelica e Bradamante. Antonia Astori e Adelaide Acerbi, le donne della Driade”, in Angelica e Bradamante le Donne del Design (edited by R. Riccini, Il Poligrafo 2017).

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