Gae Aulenti graduated from Milan Polytechnic in 1953 and from 1956 she worked in the city designing for architecture, interiors and industry and theatre scenery. In 1979 she was called on as artistic director of FontanaArte, creating timeless lamps and furnishing elements that are still part of the company's catalogue.
In particular: the Giova lamp (1964), Tavolo con ruote table (1980) and Tour table (1993). Together with Piero Castiglioni, she designed the Parola family of lamps (1980), wall lamps Diamante (1986) and Calle (1988), and the Diastema spot light (1994). Her many architectonic projects are prestigious and include the refurbishment and a new layout for the Musée d‘Orsay (1980-86) and the Musée National d’Art Moderne at the Centre Pompidou (1982-85); the refurbishment of Palazzo Grassi in Venice (1985-86); the new entrance for Santa Maria Novella station in Florence (1990); Palazzo Italia at EXPO ‘92 in Seville; the restoration of the Scuderie Papali at the Quirinale in Rome (1999); the renovation of Piazzale Cadorna in Milan (2000); the “Museo” and “Dante” stations on underground line 1 and redesign of Piazza Cavour and Piazza Dante in Naples (1999-2002); the new Asian Art Museum in San Francisco (1996-2003); the Catalan Museum of Art in Barcelona (1985-2004); the restoration of the Palavela in Turin for the Winter Olympic Games in 2006; the institute of culture in Tokyo (2006); the restoration of Palazzo Branciforte in Palermo and transformation into a museum (2011).
She received many prizes and awards including: “Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur” (Paris), Honorary Member of the American Institute of Architects – Hon. FAIA; Praemium Imperiale for Architecture (Tokyo), “Knight Grand Cross” of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Rome), honorary degree in the Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, USA).