Elio Martinelli was born in Lucca in 1922/2004.
He attends a vocational school and afterwards he obtains a diploma at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence as stage designer; over the years he gives his contribution, thanks to his creativity, to the development of his father’s, Plinio, business in the lighting sector. After few years and after several experiences in the stage design sector, he starts his own business into his office located in the old town center in Lucca.
At the beginning he focuses on interior design and fitting for shops, restaurants, hotels and pubs. Because of the need to finish his plans, he draws and carries out lighting devices on his own. We are in the 50s, the production starts and the first catalogue is issued. During these years, Elio Martinelli emphasizes his simple and rigorous inspiration giving a strong boost to his company which becomes a reference point for the Italian design in the lighting sector. Elio Martinelli is well known in Italy as well as abroad and he starts to work together with distinguished designers of this sector obtaining prizes and acknowledgments.
In 1996, during his leadership, the company takes part to the first edition of Eurodomus, at the architect Gio’ Ponti’s invitation and afterwards it is present at the editions in 1968, 1970 and 1972. It is also present to the 14th and 15th editions of the Milan Triennial in 1973 and to all the following editions of the Milan Fair, Intel and now Euroluce. Elio Martinelli has always been inspired by simplicity, geometry and nature considered from its manifold forms. A crescendo of intuitions using new materials such as methacrylate, which has been tested with different methods from the beginning of the production and designing activity.
A search for new ideas, for new technologies and production systems taking into account the constant evolution of sources of light, as well. From these tests very different lamps result such as Foglia, Bolle, Flex, Serpente, Cobra, Nuvole vagabonde, Biconica and funny creations such as some models of the Martinelli Luce such as Rondini, Cavallo Pazzo, Geronimo, and many others.
We point out the introduction of some models of the Martinelli Luce collection into outstanding museums and present in several publications and displayed during exhibitions of the sector.
Recently, with the introduction of new sources of light, Elio Martinelli steers designing towards a more technical sector, too: it results lighting systems and devices with big dimensions, of different typologies and customized as well, designed for wide places and new needs.
Elio Martinelli is tireless, he spends every day into his company till he dies in 2004; but even now, forty years later, some lamps he designed, such as Cobra, Bolla, Semisfera and many others still convey that original designing impulse even if in the present context which is so different.