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Everything is illuminated: the Dutch gallery shining a light on vintage Italian design

Koos Logger and Ingrid Stadler founded Dutch lighting gallery Palainco to indulge in and share their love for vintage lighting by some of Italy’s most celebrated designers.

Light is an incredible tool for architects and designers. It has the power to transform space, create cosiness or drama, and introduce an intriguing play of light and shadow, all with the simple flick of a switch. The physical expression of lighting is just as impressive, from discrete fixtures concealed within architectural form, to impactful sculptural forms. And it was this variety that first attracted Koos Logger and Ingrid Stadler, Dutch gallerists and founders of online lighting gallery Palainco, to the world of lighting.

“Lighting is important for any interior – it is essential to give form to the space, create atmosphere, and make it possible to live, work, eat, read, and share moments with friends and family,” says Stadler. “When not lit, a lamp can also be an interesting object to look at and some models lean towards art. When lamps come as a work of art that emits light, you get two pieces for the price of one!”

Vintage lights by Palainco in Effect Magazine
Palainco have an eye for individualistic and highly collectable vintage lighting. (L to R): Don by Ettore Sottsass for Stilnovo, chrome table lamp by Reggiani, L290 by Gino Vistosi for Vistosi

The couple has a shared love for design. Stadler grew up surrounded by beautiful objects that her parents collected, and when she met Logger, who had a similar interest in design and art, their passion blossomed. “We would visit galleries everywhere we went,” Stadler recalls. “We also went to Paris several times each year just to visit the galleries.”

Lighting is important for any interior – it is essential to give form to the space, create atmosphere, and make it possible to live, work, eat, read, and share moments with friends and family

Ingrid Stadler, co-founder of Palainco

When they moved to Italy 15 years ago, this manifested as a shared interest in collecting lamps, and the couple soon began to play with the idea of founding a gallery. They then moved to Moscow several years later, and were surprised to discover that there were few, if any, design galleries specialising in historic design – and their idea for starting their own gallery began to become a reality. In 2014, they returned to the Dutch city of Rotterdam and began to put things in motion.

“We felt that by specialising in illumination we would not limit ourselves; on the contrary, it would give us the chance to delve more deeply into the matter,” explains Logger of the decision to focus on lighting. Even before they formally founded Palainco, they began approaching some of their favourite Italian designers, interviewing the likes of Fabio Lenci, Carlo Nason, and Fulvio Ferrari about their creative process.

Palainco is an online gallery, specialising in designer lamps from the second half of the 20th century. Most of the lamps are created by Italian designers and manufacturers – think the boldly coloured glass pieces designed by Massimo Vignelli for Venini in the 1950s, the precise, logical forms of the lamps by Gae Aulenti and Livio Castiglioni for Stilnovo in the 70s, or the playful industrial language of Gianni Celada’s work for Fontana Arte in the 80s. “These designers all have their different characteristics and their own views on their work, and our encounters with their work inspired us and helped us to grow,” says Stadler.

Many of the pieces in the diverse collection are rare or unique, the result of collaborations between Italian designers of the 1950s to 1970s and local artisans. “Some models were produced in limited editions, by small companies that no longer exist,” explains Logger. “It was a period before artisans slowly developed into manufacturers and extraordinary things were made – it’s special to own a piece of that design history.”

Palainco also offers a variety of pieces crafted from Murano glass, that most Italian of materials. These special pieces combine centuries-old techniques with contemporary form, and often see designers collaborating with skilled glassmakers to explore more experimental techniques.

Koos Logger and Ingrid Stadler with designer Bruno Gecchelin in Milan, discussing his lighting models in Effect Magazine
Koos Logger and Ingrid Stadler with designer Bruno Gecchelin (left), photographed in Milan

There are pieces from Vistosi and Venini, for example, two renowned Italian brands celebrated for their work with Murano glass, alongside striking examples from unknown designers. “Many of these models could not be created today,” says Logger. “It would be too costly, or the maestri (master glassblowers) with all their knowledge and skills are no longer among us.”

While the expression of each lamp exhibited in the Palainco portfolio is unique, the pieces collected by Stadler and Logger are united in their craftsmanship, often surprising materiality, and wonderful detailing. To fully appreciate each lamp, the couple likes to live with the pieces before listing them.

Like true collectors, however, there are some special pieces they can’t imagine parting with, and these become a part of their own personal collection. The pieces that are listed for sale find new homes with design lovers, interior designers, architects, and fellow collectors.

Vintage lights by Palainco in Effect Magazine
Among the unique finds uncovered by Palainco are: (L to R): Tiki by Kazuhide Takahama for Leucos; LT 215 by Carlo Nason for A.V. Mazzega; Ziggurat by Shigeaki Asahara for Stilnovo; E63 by Umberto Riva for Francesconi

Importantly, Palainco is a gallery built on a solid foundation of knowledge and research. Just as the couple reached out to many designers to better understand the ideas behind the lighting before they founded the gallery, they pour their efforts into researching every piece that they add to the collection.

This body of research forms a second part to the Palainco web gallery, with regular interviews with designers, in-depth articles on historic manufacturers, and features on particular models creating a fascinating library of information.

One recent article is an interview with Paolo Lomazzi, who is celebrated for his playful designs such as the Joe baseball glove chair for Poltronova. In the interview, we discover that the iconic Italian designer has created over 38 lamps in the course of his career with Donato D’Urbino and Jonathan De Pas, which he describes as “absurd”. Another interview explores the magical, yet little-known, avant-garde lighting of Fulvio Ferrari, who is best known as an author and curator.

Each article is an enlightening insight into the designer’s mind, and the passion of Stadler and Logger shines through. It’s also an opportunity for clients to delve into the world of lighting as seen through the eyes of Stadler, Logger, and the many leading designers whose work they celebrate. “Our way of working is highly personal, and Palainco is really a way of life for us,” says Stadler. “It gives us the opportunity to deal with beautiful objects, to meet their creators, and to understand more about their ideas and creative process. Many of our pieces were born long ago but the idea is somehow still fresh and appeals to people – an original, beautiful, playful and intelligently made lamp gives joy every day and can continue to do so for a long time.”

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