Founded in the 1960s, the Artemide Group is one of the world leaders in the lighting industry. Artemide lamps are now considered icons of contemporary design and are exhibited in modern art museums and international collections.In the words of Carlotta de Bevilacqua, President and CEO of the Group, “for Artemide, innovation is the starting point of design. It is nourished by research and scientific thinking, that is, by the ability to see things differently from how we saw them before. And science is above all vision as well as rigorous research. It can grow our knowledge to interpret the future, open new frontiers. Thanks to this scientific and technological innovation, light allows us to rethink the environment, its resources and the energy project in terms of the ecosystem for a better quality of life not only for humans but for all living things and the planet. Light today is a circular energy.”
The Milan-based company decided to take the path to obtain EPD (Environmental Product Declaration) certification with ICMQ, for publication by the Program Operator EPDItaly. An extra guarantee of sustainability at the national and international level for an Italian excellence in the field of design.
Laura Salviati, Head of Communication and Training, and Laura Pessoni, Head of Innovation Design, talk about Artemide’s sustainable path and the decision to rely on the Program Operator.
How important is sustainability to you?
For Artemide, sustainability has been a central theme for many years: we started addressing it more than 20 years ago according to an open and inclusive approach, from the energy efficiency of light sources to the support of certain wavelengths to the psycho-physiological well-being of human beings. It is a serious and continuous journey that we continue according to many different perspectives.
In addition, we have been publishing a certified sustainability report since 2018, adhere to United Nation Global Compact, and are engaged in a series of actions to improve the sustainability of both products and business operations.
What actions have you taken?
We have a plan that includes sustainability at all levels. For example, we use only renewable energy for our production in all our factories in Italy, Hungary and partly in France.
The same part of creative product conception is sustainable: we design to achieve a long life for our design objects: not surprisingly, our products last for decades and are handed down from generation to generation. This distributes energy consumption. Our work is based on continuous research into optical innovations, through systems that optimize the energy used: the Artemide collection has been 100% developed in the latest LED technology for years now. It is a continuous update from the energy point of view that nevertheless goes hand in hand with quality: in the laboratory we carefully analyze and verify all the design steps, until we arrive at a truly efficient product. In addition, from a production point of view, we try to use highly sustainable materials and processes wherever possible.
When applying our lamps, we want all the criteria to be met in order to arrive at compliance with green building protocols: we are convinced that sustainable products create a sustainable project.
How did the idea of certifying products with EPD come about?
In order to obtain green building certifications from architects we often encounter direct requests for EPDs precisely according to compliance criteria, and even when indirect, the parameters they request from us correspond precisely to those we have analyzed in the EPD.
However, the topic is not new to us: back in 2008 we had already carried out an LCA study with the Milan Polytechnic for our most iconic product, the “Tolomeo” lamp. The goal was to understand how to improve our design to build sustainable guidelines for future projects as well. The EPD, therefore, is a continuation of this path. We felt the need to give concreteness and evidence to these actions of ours starting with “Alphabet of Light”: our current best seller; an extremely innovative and very functional lighting system, transversal in its applications, which is the first for which we requested EPD certification. It is an object that has already obtained important awards and two patents of invention: for the optical system and for the special electromechanical joints that allow a very free design in space while maintaining a uniformity of emission in only 50 mm in diameter with a very high efficiency, a continuous line of light thanks to a 360-degree modularity in space.
What benefits do you expect from certification?
As with “Ptolemy” in 2008, the analysis will be a tool for making improvements to the entire design and production and not just the individual product. Thanks to the EPD, we will have the LCA Tool that will be not only the result of measuring “Alphabet of Light” but also an opportunity to assess the impacts of the choices we will pursue. It is definitely a source of stimulation for our research.
In addition, there is also a thought behind this choice aimed at the end consumer: we think it is important to educate them about responsibility by communicating our design principles, so as to raise awareness among our customers. And, of course, the benefits will also be for B2C projects, given the growing demand for such certifications.
How strategic is a Program Operator like EPDItaly in spreading sustainability nationally and internationally?
EPD is a certification that is often requested internationally by manufacturers, planners, designers; we work with great international architects to develop products, and in the development phase, EPD issues are always a point of reference. We also care a lot about the theme of digitization, which we are pursuing by developing intelligent management systems, including through our own Artemide App, to help the end user and designer relate to light and energy in a more conscious and reasoned way. Certainly “Alphabet of Light” will not be the only product certified with EPDItaly, but probably the first in a series.