Ingo Maurer passes away aged 87

(Germany) – On October 21, Ingo Maurer died at the age of 87 in Munich surrounded by his family.

The luminaires and light objects of Maurer are regarded as pioneering in design. Among his most famous designs are his first work, Bulb (1966), the low voltage halogen system YaYaHo (1984), the winged light bulb Lucellino (1992), the pendant lamp Zettel’z (1997), One From The Heart (1989) and Porca Miseria! (1994).

His designs can be found in the collections of the world’s most important museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. An exhibition is currently being prepared at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, which from November will provide new insights into his work.

Maurer has received numerous prestigious awards, including the Design Prize of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Compasso d’Oro for his life’s work.

Considered a pioneer in the development and use of the latest lighting innovations, Maurer was a great admirer of the light bulb, which he described as the “ideal symbiosis of poetry and technology”. He used low-voltage halogen systems in the 1980s, and produced the first LED desk lamp in 2001.

Born on the island of Reichenau on Lake Constance in 1932, Maurer went to the USA in 1960 after completing an apprenticeship as a typesetter and studying commercial graphics. Until 1963 he worked as a freelance graphic artist. After returning to Munich, he travelled extensively in Japan, Brazil and other countries, especially the USA, eventually living in New York for more than 40 years.

Together with his long-standing colleagues, he developed iconic lamps that blur the lines between utility and art objects in the Designerei in Munich-Schwabing. The special mixture of poetry and technology, pointed with an ironic twinkle in the eye, characterises Maurer’s designs. His development processes were playful and unconventional, always in search of an extraordinary solution.

Describing the creative process, he said: “First, the idea of an object arises in my head – like a dream. Only in the next step I search together with my team for ways for the realisation. Sometimes it takes decades until the technical developments make our imagination possible.” In order to realise this vision, Maurer decided as early as 1966 to manufacture all of his own products, and to this day, all Ingo Maurer luminaires are manufactured in Munich.

Maurer set international standards with design commissions in both the private and public sectors. The lighting of the underground stations Westfriedhof (1998) and Müncher Freiheit (2009) in Munich, as well as the pendulum Flying to Peace for Messe Frankfurt (2018) are just some of the highlights of a long list of commissioned works. In 2018 he completed one of his most multifaceted projects – an overall concept for the Tsinandali Winery in Georgia. Since 19th October, the Residenztheater in Munich has been shining in a new light with the Silver Cloud, the latest iconic work from the light artist.

A statement on his company website reads: “We mourn our founder and mentor. The company was his family, and so we always felt. We will always remember him and continue his work in his spirit.”