PrimoMaestro Italia began with an innovative greeting card with fabric sandwiched between two layers of fine, heavy paper. In the paper a laser image was made in two separate paper cuts. When light passed through this fabric/paper sandwich, the image with its delicate details came alive. From this idea a new lamp was born and several lines of our Artistic Lighting emerged.
Originally, there was a lighting company called Tellus Srl. The well known and influential Italian designer and entrepreneur, Dino Gavina, had been central in Tellus’ startup efforts, contributing invaluable ideas and advice. A few years later, Gavina died and some of the original investors in the company lost interest. At that point, Susan Sirigatti Stearn, wife of one of the investors, Stephen Stearn, decided that the lighting work already done in Tellus Srl was too important and interesting to let die. So she arranged to purchase Tellus’ lighting interests and related patents when the company closed. A short time later, Susan formed Tellus Lighting Innovations di Stearn Susan
in Florence in order to continue the lighting. She began with three different products that Gavina had developed with Tellus Srl, namely Via Lattea wall light, Moonlight table lamp and Medici table lamp. She also immediately started working on the “new shade” based on the greeting card that employed the
patented sandwich type layering. This was to become the Pandia and Janis lighting lines. It wasn’t long before Tellus Lighting Innovations became PrimoMaestro Italia, an American company with production entirely in and around Florence.
PrimoMaestro Italia kept evolving until it presently offers ten lines of Artistic Lighting, twenty-one lines of Décor Lighting and lighting and accessory items of Murano glass, Volterra Alabaster and Deruta Ceramics, all the highest quality of handcrafted products in the world, each of which we certify to be handmade in Venice, Volterra and Deruta respectively.
This interview took place at the Castello di Gabbiano (Gabbiano Castle) in the Tuscan hills outside Florence. www.castellogabbiano.it
Susan Sirigatti Stearn
Having lived in Florence for over a dozen years, Susan is the quintessential “American in Florence.” She is not just the entrepreneurial force behind the company but also its creative energy. As head of its Design Department, she is responsible for the innovative, exciting and unique designs of its lighting.
PrimoMaestro Italia grew from Susan’s great respect for the skills of the Florentine “artigiani,” her desire to make available beautiful, artistic Italian lighting all over the world, and her love for Florence.