Pasquale Quadri, founder and chairman of Clay Paky SpA, passed away earlier this month in his home in Torre De Roveri, Italy at the age of 67.
A pioneer of the lighting industry, Quadri founded the company in 1976, and since then, Clay Paky has won more than 50 international awards. Quadri’s career mirrored developments in the automated lighting industry from its infancy. He conceived most of the Clay Paky products introduced though the years, from early lighting effects such as Astrodisco to the automated fixtures like the Golden Scan and Sharpy, up to today’s B-Eye.
In March, Quadri was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the MIPA Awards held in Frankfurt during Musikmesse, marking the first time a member of the lighting industry received this award. He is survived by his wife Antonella, his daughters Alessandra and Francesca, and granddaughters Melissa and Martina.
Thoughts Of Pasquale Quadri
In this very sad moment, a strong feeling of gratitude pervades us—gratitude for what Paky was able to give and pull out from each one of us. He taught us to care about his company, making us feel part of it.
It is no coincidence that our wives, our husbands, our children, and even parents today are equally saddened. Over the years, our families learned the respect and love we received from Paky. They have been witnesses of his kindness; everyone loved him as a father.
He showed us that the right path is the straight one, the most obvious one.
He taught us the value of excellence, which is not a gift, achievable only with neither shortcuts nor compromises, but simply with hard work and great determination.
The key factor to the success are just three: “dàs de fa, dàs de fa, dàs de fa” (“work hard, work hard, work hard”), he used to tell us in a vivid Bergamo dialect. This shining philosophy is the most precious legacy left to us all.
In every moment of our company’s history, with his good example and daily presence, he taught us not to feel discouraged and always see the light at the end of the tunnel.
He will be missed, but surely Paky’s spirit and soul will continue to guide us in the future.
—Francesco Romagnoli, area manager, North & Latin America, España, Japan, Korea
My recollections of Paky are that, although he was a shy man, I always got a hug from him. I remember that he always wore an immaculately tailored Italian suit to the office and that he seemed most comfortable solving engineering questions both in his office and in test rooms.
—Bob Gordon, founder, A.C.T Lighting, Inc.
For 36 years, I have enjoyed both business and personal relationships with Paky. I have always had a great admiration for the creative work and quality that Paky stood for. What I will always remember is that smile that Paky would greet you with. Many a trade show Paky would sneak up behind me in my booth, put his hand on my shoulder to provide a compliment on a new product, and a little comedic ribbing at the same time. I will greatly miss him.
—Richard Belliveau, founder and chief technology officer, High End Systems
I met him the first time in 1989, when I’d been employed by Clay Paky, and the first feeling was of a very charismatic and charming leader. He was so passionate and careful to all the details of his job. I learned so much from him! I remember when we were studying some new fixtures, and the R&D engineers were answering some requests, “It’s not possible to do it.” Well, Paky, with the relaxing tone of his voice, but strict at the same time, was stating, “It’s impossible, but we will do it anyway.” And at the end, he was always right. I’m sure that everybody in the factory learned this lesson from Paky: nothing is impossible. There is always a solution and a way to make it better. Personally, I’ll miss him so, but I’m sure that now he’s looking at us from the sky, and he will give us the strength to make Clay Paky stronger than ever. This is his wish, I’m sure!
—Giovanni Zucchinali, lighting designer/consultant and sales support engineer, Clay Paky
I only met Paky a few times over the years, but after the first time, he always greeted me like I was his long lost brother. That set the stage for a warm connection between us, and I imagine he treated everyone like this, not for business advantage, but because that’s the way he related to the world, with enthusiasm, affection, and sincerity.
The thing that struck me about Paky was his unbridled joy for the art form that he was so instrumental in helping launch. He couldn’t help himself; the gears in his mind just never stopped working on new ways to create, and then he’d watch with delight as his friends put his inventions to use. That broad smile and those sparkly eyes: that’s what I’ll remember.
—Jeff Ravitz, Intensity Advisors
We always enjoyed a friendly relationship with Pasquale and have always had the highest admiration for him and his company. Clay Paky inspired us all to make better lighting products, and he built an amazing company as a true pioneer in our industry.
—Eric Loader, sales director, Elation Professional
In an industry where so much is copied, Paky stood out as a true innovator. He was first to the market with so many ideas, and he was only interested in designing and building the very best products.
I thoroughly enjoyed the many years we worked together, building his brand, sharing great wine in Bergamo, or attending those amazing dinners Clay Paky held in Rimini. My thoughts are with his family and friends, and the staff of Clay Paky—a very sad time for all.
—Jack Kelly, president, Group One Ltd
It was with great grief that I received the news about Paky’s death. Our industry has lost one of the strongest shining stars—a graceful man with a brilliant mind that saw what no one else saw and took our industry into a completely new direction. I had the honor to meet Paky several times,
especially during my many trips to the factory in Bergamo. You would never find him in his office, but always down in the test room, trying out his latest ideas.
Thank you for all your passion, generosity, and support over the years. I’m sure your team will carry on your legacy with great success. You’ll be greatly missed but always have a very special place in our hearts.
Rest in peace, my friend.
—Ola Melzig, technical director, M & M Production Management AB
I didn't know Paky well. He spoke little English and was a private person, but the memories of him that I have—his warm smile, generous welcome, and humble demeanor—are a true reflection of the great company that he created. And that, in itself, is a decent legacy for those he leaves behind and one of which they can be proud.
—Patrick Woodroffe, Woodroffe Bassett Design
I had the honor and pleasure of knowing Paky for 28 years both as his US distributor in my early career and while representing competitive brands later on. Throughout our lives, we remained friends and always made a point of stopping by each other’s tradeshow booths at various exhibitions around the world to pay our mutual respects. He was a true visionary and innovator and led Clay Paky to the heights of success. Above all, Paky was a gentleman. Our industry has lost one of its brightest stars, and his presence will be sorely missed. Riposare in pace.
—Bob Schacherl, CEO, Robe Lighting, Inc.
I never got to know Paky personally, but always had the utmost respect for him. Way back when the original Golden Scan came onto the market, he soon gained a reputation for producing the best optics in a fixture and became the benchmark that everyone tried to achieve, and that just continued. That Italian drive for perfection without compromise never left the design ethos of his products, and he has quite rightly attained legendary status within the industry. His contribution will never be forgotten.
—Mark Ravenhill, President, GLP German Light Products Inc.
As a young American in my early 20s, the Italian mindset in general was more foreign than I could have ever possibly expected. I didn’t understand Paky’s business strategies. They seemed ridiculous, lazy, even irresponsible at times. What did I know? Everything apparently. I was 23, and it was the early '90s. We were in the midst of a moving light sales war. Competition was fierce, and, working for the Clay Paky US sales distributor, Group One, Ltd., just meant that you had to work even harder than the other heavy hitters on US soil. Paky didn’t sit on his laurels, but he had no intention of trying to reach for world domination.
This young American, in his infinite wisdom, couldn't understand it. How could you simply be satisfied with being the market leader in Europe and not make the push for the rest of the world, at least a massive push in the largest entertainment market on the planet? How could you take the entire month of August off and shut down the factory for holiday? Why aren’t there double shifts on the assembly lines? Do the fixtures need to have the exorbitant price point that they have? Surely the optics don’t ultimately need the such expensive components from which they are made. Surely some concessions could be made given how drastically lower the quality was from the competition.
The very simple answer wasn’t fully realized by me until years later, and it would be one of the most valuable lessons of my career. In Paky’s view, quality came first—quality of product, and, arguably more important to him, quality of life for his very loyal and hard-working employees. Quality over quantity, as cliché as it may sound, was the apparent ethos. Lamborghini, Ferrari, Gucci, Versace, Clay Paky—we were working for the luxury brand. If this were fashion week then we may have well have been called the “House of Quadri.”
As a company that was meant to sell, this was frustrating at times. As a representative of what truly was and continues to be the finest quality brand of automated lighting products in the world, there was definitely an earned pride that came along with being associated with the brand.
Over the years, Paky and I spent many short stints in the Bergamo office demo room seemingly playing with fixture parts and influencing new ideas through a begrudged translator for what would end up being some of the most widely used fixtures in the industry. More importantly, he taught me the value of associating your personal name with both quality of work and quality of life for the team in which you surround yourself.
Paky, you will be missed by many, and my selfish regret is that I didn't have more time to learn life's other secrets from you. You left us halfway through the lesson.
—Patrick Dierson, Dierson Design Group, Inc.
We did not know Pasquali Quadri personally but have the utmost respect for him and what he achieved.
You can know a man by the company he builds. When you consider Clay Paky’s impact in the entertainment industry, you know the man who founded it to be a brilliant visionary and an extraordinary esthete. He inspired every one of us to keep looking for better ways to do things, to dream the next game changer.
It’s a huge loss not only for the lighting industry but for dreamers, creators, and lovers of beauty, worldwide.
—Albert & Berenice Chauvet, CHAUVET Professional
Although I personally only met him once, I’ve always respected his company and the creativity he brought to our industry. The very first time I went to Rimini in my early ‘20s, seeing Clay Paky was a true inspiration for me. The creativity coming from the Italian companies was an amazing sight to see and truly gave me a deep love for our industry. Paky was a true icon of our industry!
—Toby Velazquez, president, ADJ Group of Companies
Philips Entertainment would like to offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Pasquale Quadri. Pasquale was a true visionary, and while his physical presence in the lighting industry will be sorely missed, his legacy and ingenuity will live on forever. Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with everyone affected by his untimely passing during this very difficult time.
—Julie Smith, Philips Entertainment General Manager of the Americas
I always regarded Pasquale as one of the original inventors of modern entertainment lighting— a great engineer and a true gentleman, who deserved all the awards he received in life. Goodbye from a humble colleague.
—Peter Johansen, CEO, SGM Lighting
In an industry fraught with fierce competition, Paky always maintained a warm and professional demeanor, always the gentleman and always focused on giving to the industry. Even though he spoke little English, I was fortunate to know him well enough to share his company on a few occasions and even share a meal and trade stories. Paky’s departure leaves us very sad but richer for having known him.
—Richard Cadena, Academy of Production Technology
My very first experiences in the industry were as the PR flack for Group One Ltd, then the US distributor for Clay Paky. I learned quickly that Mr. Quadri was really only ever called “Mr. Quadri” by most. My first LDI, we had a monolithic black draped booth with a killer light show for which we won an LDI Award for Best Light Show, designed and programmed by Giovanni Zucchinali. I remember how proud Mr. Quadri was, even though he probably didn’t know who I was back then. I certainly knew who he was. That was 1996. Think he made an impression much?
—Marian Sandberg, content director, Live Design and LDI
We’re saddened by the news that Clay Paky’s founder Mr. Pasquale “Paky” Quadri has passed away after a long period of illness. Mr. Quadri was one of the grand old men in the lighting industry, and his contribution to the business of dynamic lighting deserves recognition. Our deepest condolences to Mr. Quadri’s family.
—Lars Dige Knudsen, VP & general manager, Martin Professional
Quite recently, I had the pleasure of traveling to Italy and visiting the Clay Paky plant, its staff, and employees. Of course, I was thoroughly impressed with the technology, the forward thinking in their philosophy, and--most importantly--the general feeling of dedication and sense of family that permeated the air.
Most importantly, however, I was honored with the opportunity to actually meet Paky and briefly visit with this genius whose vision created this company. I was instantly touched by his friendliness and his openness. In those few minutes, I came to realize how his vision has carried down through the next generation and permeated the passion in everyone involved with this company.
It is so sad to note the passing of this genius and powerful force in the lighting community. I know that he left behind his beloved immediate family at Clay Paky. But he has also left behind a driving force in the field of lighting technology that will not dim in the least for the foreseeable future. May he rest in peace.