Italian product designer Panzeri has firmly established itself as a leader in the lighting industry. With its history strongly rooted in family, it comes as no surprise that it’s lead designer is of the same name. darc met with Enzo Panzeri to discuss the importance of light and how design is moving further towards simplicity and elegance.
Since 1947, lighting brand Panzeri has been at the forefront of Italian design. Its core values of quality, research and innovation are firmly placed in its heritage in terms of tradition and craftsmanship and represent the brand philosophy.
Very much still a family run business, the company’s lead designer Enzo Panzeri considers himself an “autodidact, with a natural attitude for design.” With a passion for art and painting that raises an inner sensitivity towards beauty, this passion for visual art has inspired Enzo to turn on his creative flair.
Having grown up in Monza and Brianzo, a district of excellence in design and technique in Northern Italy, Enzo comes from an area with a great passion for hard work and dedication where technique mingles with Italian taste, resulting in a history of 500 years of research in beauty from the Renaissance onwards.
“This is a region where religion plays a strong role and the philosophy is to understand our past in order to improve the present and innovate the future,” Enzo tells darc. “Growing up in this environment gave me – and still does – the opportunity to develop my interests towards mechanical engineering and functional design, shaping myself into a figure able to combine my extreme sensibility towards visual art and technical drawings.”
But it is not only art that inspires Enzo; he recalls a trip to Brazil in the 1980s: “I am fond of beauty in all its forms and while in Brazil I remember being caught by the shape of a fisherman’s sailing boat. Its lightness and rounded form made me visualise the image of a product that I instantly had to draw in the sand. Soon after, I turned that idea into a tangible product.”
Going into the family business, for Enzo there was never another path he would have wanted to take: “I felt from my very first day that this was the place I was supposed to be. A world where it was possible to combine my creative attitudes with technique. Applying my natural tendency for design to the family business has been my only job.”
When it comes to designing a luminaire, for Enzo, it is important to always look at the industry and try to listen to the needs. “The essential difference between an artist and a designer is that the artist’s goal is to make a unique piece to showcase in a museum, while the designer’s goal is to make a serial product that can create a solution for as many people as possible.
“Light has the power to influence the mood, to transmit emotions, to change the look of a room. Light is the main influencer of our first view – just compare the light of a candle with the light of a dentist’s room.”
One of Enzo’s most notable designs, is also one of his most recent; the Jackie LED task light (pictured on the opening spread) has picked up design awards both in Europe and North America, but this – according to Enzo, is not the measure of it’s success. “I believe this product succeeded in combining a sense of elegance and beauty with technicality and a clean design. This is, for me, what makes a project notable since it conveys the philosophy of our territory.”
Jackie is a collection of LED multi-faceted lighting solutions ranging from a rigorous and functional desk lamp; an elegant and refined floor lamp; and an architectural object in its wall or ceiling spotlight version. Jackie strikes a balance between extreme linear simplicity and high architectural technical details. The revolutionary innovation of Jackie is indeed its structure, characterised by extendible arms and a double junction system, which allows the head to be orientated in multiple ways. A simple and minimalist design is obtained thanks to the miniaturisation of the elastic system, which is hidden in the body of the structure.
“My aim is to create a clean and simple style with mechanical perfection,” says Enzo. “The key is simplicity – employing mechanics to find the easiest solution for the desired design. I believe mechanics should be used to simplify products and procedures rather than making them intricate. This is why my design style is linear, clean and essential… It reflects my personality.”
As a company so well established in the lighting design industry, Panzeri has naturally played a role in the shift of lighting trends over the last few decades. “Lighting is becoming more and more minimalistic and embedded in architecture, mixed with the use of a few – but essential – decorative items,” says Enzo. “This is what I see also for the future of lighting. The predominant colours will be black and white mixed with the use of gold and other decorative colours. Though I have never developed an interest for different materials or colours, my attention is on the perimeter and shape of an object.”
Looking ahead, Enzo’s curiosity and perseverance will continue to see Panzeri lead in design. The designer is adamant he will continue reinventing and updating himself by continuing to look and listen to the lighting world. “This is the role of the designer,” he says, “to come up with a durable solution to the need. To me, design is working and responding to the needs of people, building a product able to interact with their daily routines. It’s a laboratory of daily work. Lighting to me – is functional and elegant simplicity.”