Palainco Seriously light minded

Curiosity from the Palainco archive: Recovering in style with Stilnovo

How the Italian manufacturer tried to brighten up hospital life in the 1950s

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Hospitalisation is never exactly fun, but it certainly wasn’t decades ago, when most hospitals looked grim and austere. At the time, Italian manufacturer Stilnovo developed a range of lighting fixtures adapted to hospitals’ needs, which definitely made their interiors more stylish.

  • Palainco_Stilnovo_ Hospitals_Model_2130- Model 2130 wall lamp (Stilnovo catalogue, from the Palainco archive). Above: A patient lying under model 2130, that was especially developed for use in hospitals (Stilnovo catalogue, from the Palainco archive).
  • In the 1950s, when Italian manufacturer Stilnovo was one of the premier lighting companies producing innovative and often extraordinary lighting pieces, the company sent a catalogue to its prospects that was titled Apparecchi per l’illuminazione- Serie per cliniche e ospedali, or in English: Lighting equipment- Series for clinics and hospitals.

    On page 3 we see a picture of an ailing patient lying in a hospital bed observed by a doctor (main picture, above). The scene is illuminated by an industrial looking lighting piece that is attached to the wall.

    The catalogue came with a rather clinical letter that says:

    Lighting in clinics and hospitals requires special adaptations as it often has to respond to completely unusual needs.
    This booklet illustrates precisely the different types of lamps that reflect the demand for new efficient lighting systems for this special category of clientele and the success obtained by this specialised production of ours confirms the keen interest shown everywhere in the healthcare environment.

  • Palainco_Stilnovo_Model_2130_Clinica_Athena- Model 2130 in Clinica Athena in San Remo (Stilnovo catalogue, from the Palainco archive). Picture below: Model 2130 (Palainco private collection, picture by Palainco).
  • Palainco_Stilnovo_Wall_Model_2130_Gray-6303-2
  • However, apparently Stilnovo already considered many of their wall lamps from the regular collection suitable for hospital environments, as we noticed upon inspection of the general catalogues from the era. The majority of them reappears in this catalogue.

    Most attention is paid to model 2130, the wall fixture that we saw earlier doing its best to brighten up the situation of our poor patient. Or, as the catalogue—again unemotionally—puts it:

    Arm lamp for the position of the clinical bed that meets all the needs of the doctor and patient. The protrusion of the arm allows a wide illumination field.

  • Palainco_Stilnovo_Model_2130_Clinica_Pinna_Pintor- Model 2130 waiting for patients in Clinica Pinna Pintor in Turin (Stilnovo catalogue, from the Palainco archive).
  • The wall model offers good working conditions for the doctor as with the usage of the right light bulbs one can reach “an effective scialytic effect”, which simply means that it dispels shadows.

    Not only does Stilnovo pay attention to the well-being of the patient and the working conditions of doctors, but also to the vulnerability of the walls:

    The reflector can rotate in the vertical plane for a width of 300° while the arm has a horizontal movement of 160° with side stops to prevent the reflector from hitting the wall.

    It is not certain if after this catalogue Stilnovo continued to focus on the development of illumination for hospitals. We hope all patients fully recovered from their hospital stays due to both the scialytic and aesthetic effects of the Stilnovo lamps above their beds.

  • Palainco_Stilnovo_Catalogue_Hospitals_Cover- Stilnovo catalogue from the 1950s: Series for Clinics and Hospitals (from the Palainco archive).
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    • Literature: Stilnovo catalogue 'Apparecchi per l'illuminazione- Serie per cliniche e ospedali'.

    Unless otherwise stated, all material is sourced and/or generated internally. All rights reserved.

    • Text: Palainco, Koos Logger & Ingrid Stadler.
    • Image sources: Stilnovo catalogue Apparecchi per l'illuminazione- Serie per cliniche e ospedali (from the Palainco archive) and Palainco.

    The article and its contents may not be copied or reproduced in any part or form without the prior written permission of the copyright holders.

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