headlamps

If the headlamp on a classic Vespa or Lambretta scooter can illuminate a twisting Italian roadway at night, why couldn’t it light up a desk?

In the hands of Milanese artisan Maurizio Lamponi Leopardi, the polished chrome, handlebars, and headlights of the iconic 1960s motorbikes now find new uses in gorgeous halogen lamps.

Leopardi was trained as an engineer and surveyor, but decided to pursue the artist’s life in the 1970s. He made high-end artworks, including lamps, but followed another passion as an art world photographer and graphic artist until the bottom fell out in 2001.

At that point, according to the broken English on his website, he decided to devote “new ideas and energies to what, since child, always has been the most important and amusing job of all his life: ‘TO BUILT.’”

And what wonders he has built. The object does not exist that Leopardi cannot turn into a fantastic lamp, perhaps because his middle name sounds so much like lampioni, the Italian word for large lamps. Seltzer bottles, coffee pots, hand irons, and hair dryers are all balanced ethereally on slender wire stems. Even giant razor blades and German helmets with the wings of Mercury find themselves central players in Leopardi’s whimsical creations.

“I found some old parts in a junkyard and decided to bring them back to a new life with a different function, to make light in houses,” Leopardi says in an email, translated from his Italian.

All of his work is informed by another of his passions: airplanes. His lamps not only seem to float on air, but many of them also feature handles that jut from the sides like the wings on a plane. He even makes a series of lamps out of model planes, in shiny aluminum and in wood, evoking everything from the dawn of flight to the Space Age.

In the motorcycle lamps, it’s the handlebars that give flight to the light. In bright primary colors, the lamps have such a realistic look that you want to grip them and feel the wind blowing back your hair as you soar above the farms of Leopardi’s native Lombardy countryside.

>> Leopardi’s Lamps: lamponislamps.com