Acquatinta, Acquaparete and Acquamiki

Variations of shapes, lights and surfaces: the story of the first blown glass lamps designed by Michele De Lucchi for Produzione Privata

by Produzione Privata
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"Acquamiki and bread" painting, Ottorino De Lucchi, drybrush and acrylic on Schoeller cardboard, 2010


Produzione Privata’s inspiration for ACQUATINTA, ACQUAMIKI and ACQUAPARETE, stem from personal research and the willingness to experiment with italian craftsmanship. In the specific case of these three lamps the real protagonists are the glass blowers. Their exquisit crafmanship gives these lamps a wonderful interplay between light and transparency that has become the trademark of the Acquatinta line.


«Up until now the most succesful use of blown glass is that which has resulted in the Acquatinta lamp and its variations» writes Sibylle Kicherer in The Complete Collection of Michele De Lucchi's Produzione Privata.


It is no coincidence then if the "lamps of the waters" have become over the years Produzione Privata’s most successful products. They are now icons and metaphors of poetic and silent design of Michele De Lucchi.

This story is about the birth of Produzione Privata’s first suspension lamp in blown glass. The journey starts a long time ago when the first Aquatinta that saw the light in 1996, later to be followed by Aquaparete and Acquamiki in the subsequent years.



The search for the perfect shape


These are the first drawings by De Lucchi, now part of the permanent collection of the Centre Georges Pompidou, illustrate the birth and development of aquatinta from a sketch to the first mold and prototype.


Acquatinta very first sketches, Michele De Lucchi, pencil on paper, 1996. Preserved at Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris


You can witness the gradual evolution of the concept into the final product. Notice how the decorative element present in the first sketch, gradually disappears and a new improved form emerges welcoming a new elegance and simplicity to the necessary technical elements. Finally admire the first mold and one of the early prototypes of the lamp.


Acquatinta transparent and wood mold 1996. Preserved at Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. 



The Lightness of Blown Glass


«In comparison with other glass, blown glass is thinner and this is evident in the transparent version where the impact of the pure material is fascinating» Sibylle Kicherer


Acquatinta transparent sketch, Michele De Lucchi, pencil on paper, 1996


Acquatinta is the first blown glass lamp Produzione Privata, it has a lightweight body in which light, material and transparency come into some kind of interplay and dialogue. It was designed with the idea to become an unpretentious, adaptable and contemporary lamp while produced with the wisdom of an ancient craft. This object encapsulates the intimate relationship that De Lucchi established with his blown glass research and workshop.

The creative intuition has married the fascinating craftsmanship of the glassblowers of Murano. Murano is a tiny island in the middle of the venice lagoon steeped in culture, history and tradition. The name Aquatinta is a tribute to Murano, remembering the coloured waters of the glasswork that in their harmonious ripples and waves inspired the smooth curves of this product.


The inspiration from a water landscape


«I came into contact with blown glass for the first time through Luciano Vistosi, an artist of Murano glass who owned a lamp factory and who had asked me to design one. Working on the Vega lamp, I began to appreciate colour, transparency and the materiality of glass. But I did not understand its real potentiality. […] my first true objects realised in glass are those which I designed for Produzione Privata.» Michele de Lucchi 1996


Michele De Lucchi was immediately captivated by the charme of the Murano Island. This island has remained miracously intact continuing the tradition of blown glass for centuries and still to this day it remains a world reference point for artistic glass.

In Murano, inspiration has found practical realization in the ability of these craftsmen.

The artistic work of Murano glass is a manufacturing process with very limited standardization: the single pieces are individually blown and even though they belong to the same series they are only similar, but never identical. This uniqueness in blown glass is does not reduce the quality of the work of the artisan, on the contrary it enhances it.


Silent poetic nudity


Acquatinta transparent. Ph. Luca Tamburlini / Polifemo Fotografia


The success of the ACQUATINTA lamp is perhaps attributable to its silent poetic nudity. It was the first lamp designed and conceived to show the technical components required for its primary function. You can see the bulb in the lamp, and showing the electric cables reveals the insides that until then were always meant to be concealed.


«The completely transparent version was a total surprise as it appeared to all, as a new concept newer used previously» Sibylle Kicherer




Acquatinta transparent, details. Ph Luca Tamburlini / Polifemo Fotografia




A search for balance and equilibrium


Aquatinta arises not only from a reflection on form, lightness and purity but from a search for design solutions to give aesthetic quality to the technical object.

The “Bilancino” or scale is an object that serves to give balance and align hanging lamps. In fact, every glassy orb is different from another, and the weight is not evenly distributed but depends on the intensity of each breath of the artisan. The unique character of the diffuser of the Acquatinta also distinguishes and affect the weight distribution of the scale. The sling was produced using a small metal rod that sustains the lamp’s suspended weight. The lamps weight therefore rests somewhere on the rod. In order to establish a straight lamp balance you can adjust the contact point sideways along the entire lenght of the bar until you have reached the desired lamp position.



Acquatinta transparent, detail of the “bilancino”






Two years after the first Acquatinta the wall version of the pendant lamp is born: ACQUAPARETE, became the younger brother of the family. Both are descended from the initial sketches and shape research. Furthermore they are produced by the same glassblowers with the same technique; even the naked diffuser and the internal components are similar to the original.

Aquaparete transparent sketch, Michele De Lucchi, pencil on paper, 1998


Acquaparete has a smaller and more elongated diffuser than that of Acquatinta. The change in shape was functional to different lighting requirements. The design of the structure in gray painted metal combines the aesthetic and functional qualities.



Acquaparete transparent. Ph. Luca Tamburlini / Polifemo fotografia


The lamp is adjustable. The 180° vertical rotation of the lamp is possible by means of a metal arm that holds the pressure of the first glassy orb. The orientation downwards and upwards favors the choice of a direct light or diffused allowing for customizing your environment.



Acquaparete transparent, detail of the little metal “arm”. Ph. Luca Tamburlini / Polifemo Fotografia







Acquamiki. Michele De Lucchi, pencil on paper, 1999


ACQUAMIKI is the latest among the “lighting of waters”. It is the small version of the  Acquatinta suspension lamp. Also in this case, the artistic craft and the quality of crucibles constitute a unique value and fineness of the piece.



Acquamiki transparent. Ph. Luca Tamburlini / Polifemo Fotografia










«Starting with the basic form, lamps of varing character evolved with different light qualities, from strong to soft diffused light» Sybille Kicherer


So far this story talked about Aquatinta, Acquaparete and Acquamiki in their naked, transparent and pure version. However, over the years, there has been tremenduous variation and experimentation with surface finishes. These different finishes were designed to enhance the expressive potential of the light by customizing the transparency and colour of the glass You can tell that they are united by the desire to look for variants: form, surface and light.


The words of Michele De Lucchi on patience are significant in this regard:

«Patience is to discover the wealth of search variants, it is to repeat 10 times, 100 times, 1,000 times the same thing, the same activity, the same realization, the same design, the same text, the same sculpture, the same subject. You discover step by step the hidden forces, aspects implied and changes become unpredictable.» Michele De Lucchi 2014



Variations of Shape



Acquaparete, Acquamiki, Acquatinta. Transparent blown glass, grey painted – black painted metal. Ph. Luca Tamburlini / Polifemo fotografia



Variations of Surface & Finish


To Plunge into the world of a glass blower allows you to travel between the expressive potential of a material with its variations of transparency, color and surface treatment fascinates and amazes continuously.

The fusion of the sensitivity of the designer and the "know how" of the master craftsman, custodian of centuries of experience, gives rise to a number of creations with a unique and poetic character.  

Acquatinta, transparent blown glass and black glass finish, work in progress



Acquatinta Variations


Acquatinta, variuos finishings. Ph. Luca Tamburlini / Polifemo fotografia


The lamp ACQUATINTA was produced initially in transparent blown glass, transparent green, frosted glass and white glass. In 2003 the sandblasted green model went out of production, which was replaced by the black finish (black / white inside). In 2012 gold and silver transmirror were added. In 2013, the latest addition, gray transmirror was created.



Acquaparete Variations


Acquaparete, variuos finishings. Ph. Luca Tamburlini / Polifemo fotografia


The wall lamp ACQUAPARETE in blown glass and metal frame is in production since 1998 in its transparent, sandblasted and transparent green versions.




Acquamiki Variations


Acquamiki, variuos finishings. Ph. Luca Tamburlini / Polifemo fotografia


The ACQUAMIKI suspension lamp is in production since 1999 in clear, frosted, transparent green and glossy white. In 2006 mirrored versions (gold and silver) were added which are however out of production since 2012. They were replaced by silver and gold transmirror. In 2013, similarly to the Acquatinta, the gray transmirror version was introduced.




Variations of Light


The following pictures give you a few examples of how Acquatinta, Acquaparete and Acquamiki illuminate the environments in which they are placed. Notice how the different finishes drastically change the emanated light, illuminating their surroundings in completely new ways.

These images also show the ability of these products to add to their environments with an elegant and silent presence.


Acquatinta with model, Acquatinta with salt. Ph. Michele De Lucchi


Acquaparete with pine cone. Acquaparete “up-oriented”. Ph. Michele De Lucchi


Acquamiki with books. Ph. Michele De Lucchi




Acquatinta. Various finishings on green background. Ph. Tom Vack




Now your time to speak has come:

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You can find out more about:

Aquatinta, suspension lamp
Acquaparete, wall lamp 
Acquamiki, suspension lamp 

on Produzione Privata Archiproducts Page


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