Interview: Davide Groppi on light as a form of seduction
There are few men who are as passionate about light as Italian designer Davide Groppi. He cites the etymological meaning of the word ‘light’ in Italian which means to ‘draw in’ and that exact feeling is what Groppi focuses on, using light as a form of seduction.
One of his many influences is Italian Renaissance painter Carravagio, from whom he developed his love of direct, intimate and theatrical lighting.
“The best representation of light is when it hits a table surface,” he says. “From high up, down to the table. This is when the light is most seductive.”
Groppi’s designs and projects follow his four rules of love that turn the lamps into signature objects including: simplicity, lightness, emotion and invention.
“This research of light is what drives me to look for something new,” Groppi explains. “What I want to achieve, when I come up with a new lamp or a new project, is to have a powerful impact, something that will spark curiosity with a touch of irony – something that will break the mould.”
It all started in the 1980s in the city of Piacenza in a little laboratory where Groppi started inventing and manufacturing his first lamps. He cannot say why he chose light but explains that it was something that allowed him to build something true.
He recalls 1994 as the “lucky” year of his life when Maddaalena De Padova, co-founder of De Padova, decided to buy 40 pieces of his Baloo lamps and displayed them during the Salone del Mobile in Milan.
From there Groppi went on to collaborate with big names in the design industry including Boffi, Paola Lenti and Christofle, which put him on the international map. Designing lamps then evolved into full-scale projects where Groppi created complete lighting solutions and designs for residential projects, retail as well as hospitality including hotels and restaurants.
In recent years, technology has begun to play a large role in his designs, however, Groppi explains, it is used not for its technical elements but for humanistic ones. It allows him to get further in touch with the emotional aspect of his work.
Groppi explains that his method of creating is not rational, and it is technology that helps drive the emotional and intuitive side of his work by elevating the sensations.
He is very precise about what he does, because in addition to being obsessed with light, he is also a perfectionist.
“I suffered quite a bit from the concept of perfection since I was a young boy, but when I reached a mature age I realised that perfection is something that grows and evolves.
“When I think of my lamps, the feeling is close to love. So I am very firm on the fact that the lamps need to be perfectly manufactured, from the actual product to the packaging. Even if you may not notice it, when you open one of our lamps, all the components inside are all very well designed,” he explains.
We also spoke of the current trends in the lighting industry and how light has developed and where it is going in the future.
“Trends in lighting are pointing towards multi-sensory solutions that are very intimate. The idea is to think about light as something that is tailor-made, customisable and special to different people in different ways. This is why I am thinking about providing solutions without having any structural limits such as wiring and power,” he explains.
Groppi has been working day and night on perfecting his model of a new wireless lighting object which he hopes to exhibit at the Salonedel Mobile this year. “I want to make my lighting totally free”, he concludes.
Davide Groppi products can be found in the Middle East from Superstudio.