The company was founded in 1976 as LUMEN CENTER in the Provençal city of La-Fare-les-Oliviers, under the artistic direction of Gilles Derain; A leading exponent of French contemporary design, Derain was among the first admirers and scholars of the UAM – Union des Artistes Modernes, an artistic movement active between 1928 and 1958, which then merged into the international modern movement. The Union des Artistes Modernes counted among its members and founders, designers and architects, including the famous Jacques Adnet, who in 1960 became director of the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, a position he held until 1970.
Thanks to his teaching, Gilles Derain imprints his own stylistic and design approach to design, proving to be a worthy heir to the lesson of international modernism, collecting and perpetuating Adnet’s important artistic legacy: an example among all is the MCP (Merci Chareau Pierre) lamp, made by Derain in 1979 which was a huge commercial success, to the point of being included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Montreal.
In 1992, LUMEN CENTER was taken over by a Milanese entrepreneur: the consolidated collaboration with well-known French designers, including Jean-Michel Wilmotte, and the high quality of the products offered meant that the company quickly consolidated its position in the Italian and international lighting scene. At the end of the nineties, the company came into contact with Panasonic’s European Design Center, VillaTosca Design, jointly creating an important and ambitious interior design and lighting project for the Royal Pines Hotel in Urawa, Japan. The project is called “Life River” and still represents the company’s very high technical-production know-how, as well as the ability to carry out “tailor-made” projects with great flexibility.
Since then, the company has carried out countless initiatives at an international level, such as experiments on synesthesia between light, color and sound, the use of alternative sources such as OLEDs and studies on the interaction between light and human metabolism. LUMEN CENTER was also the sponsor of the lighting of the food court of the Japan Pavilion at Expo 2015 and illuminates the important works of Leonardo Da Vinci, Titian, Raphael, Bruegel and Botticelli at the Veneranda Pinacoteca Ambrosiana in Milan.