Astep: light as a family affair
The balance between contemporary design and its historical legacy is the main theme for Astep, a Danish brand with Italian roots
The Isol lamp by David Thulstrup for Astep will be featured in the exhibition THIS IS DENMARK hosted at Alcova for the Milan Design Week 2023
Astep is a relatively new company. Founded in Copenhagen in 2014, it was born following the main vision of its creator, Alessandro Sarfatti: to bring high-end lighting products to new evolutionary standards. A-step forward.
Despite the young age of his creature, Sarfatti’s history with light began a long time ago. His grandfather was Gino Sarfatti who, in 1939, founded one of the most iconic lighting companies of early Italian design: Arteluce.
Gino was a smart entrepreneur and an even smarter and curious designer and craftsman. To this day, his lamps testify his innovative attitude and brilliant sensitivity for materials and shapes and look extremely contemporary.
Gino’s son Riccardo, Alessandro’s father, was also a lighting designer and entrepreneur: together with his wife Sandra and Architect Paolo Rizzatto he founded Luceplan, a brand that still resonates as an example of an open-minded entrepreneurial attitude and with a bold and constant work around the evolution of light shapes and technologies.
Alessandro’s youth and early professional life was thoroughly imbued in lighting technologies and design, both at home and at work (he was CEO of Luceplan for years). Then, in 2014, together with his Danish wife Yasmin, he chose to bring on the family tradition, establishing his own company in Denmark: Astep.
Italian classics and contemporary design
Astep works on two different paths. The first one is dedicated to re-editions of Gino Sarfatti’s designs, together with other italian architects icons like Franco Albini and Vittoriano Viganó bringing again into life the iconic work of the Italian design master.
The second one fully embraces a research-based design approach, investigating materials and technologies to bring, together with contemporary designers, new ways to experience quality lighting in residential and contract spaces.
The Gino Sarfatti Collection by Astep
The Gino Sarfatti Collection by Astep features twelve timeless lamps of different typologies.
Their essential and clever design represents a full catalog of bright functional and constructive solutions paired with an elegant, sophisticated yet essential aesthetic language.
The twelve models have been updated to conform with contemporary standards in terms of sustainability, repairability and a conscious attitude towards production and distribution.
The 548 model has been recently reengineered to become fully repairable, like all Astep’s products, with bespoken lighting sources and constructive details granting durability.
Beside the technical modifications, the 548 lamp synthesizes Gino Sarfatti’s design philosophy.
There is the curiosity for what was a new material back in 1951: when thermoformed methacrylate was used in an innovative way as a direct shade for the light source, bringing reflected and direct light in the same object. There is the idea of using very simple tubular elements to hold the lamp shade. And there is the elegant resolution of all the aesthetic parts, joined in an ephemeral lamp able to discreetly bring its cleverness into the environment.
The new Isol collection: a hi-tech sound absorbing textile
For this year’s Milan Design Week, Astep will bring to Euroluce (and at This is Denmark) a brand new collection: Isol, designed by David Thulstrup.
“When we asked David Thulstrup to design a lamp for us, we were looking for a fruitful mix between his sophisticated architectural language and our aesthetic design approach”, says Alessandro Sarfatti.
The project was born around the pretext of using a hi-tech sound absorbing textile by Caimi Brevetti.
“Snowsound is a very efficient yet extremely thin material,” says Alessandro Sarfatti. “It opened us to new ways of interpreting the sound absorbing technology and its use on illuminating objects. Usually these kinds of lamps function when the absorbing material is thick and abundantly used on big surfaces. In this case, and I think it is quite an isolated example, we were allowed to work on a simpler and apparently normal object that hides its technical peculiarities to focus on its lightness and luminosity”.
The result is a collection of suspension and floor lamps, developed on a cylindrical geometry scaled on different dimensions and applications aiming at the hospitality market through a formal hybridization with more homely products.
This is Denmark exhibition, staged at Alcova during the Milan Design Week 2023, wishes to offer an overview, through 15 selected objects, of how contemporary Danish creators and companies interpret today the key values coming from their national heritage.