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Design classics – Flos Arco lamp

September 6, 2011

Designed by Achille Castiglioni and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni in 1962 the Arco lamp manufactured by Flos has been seen in interiors for nearly 50 years so deserves its place in our Design classics series.

The Arco lamp uses the principle of a heavy base to support a telescopic pole that allows a light to be cast 2 metres from the base.  Castiglioni said that the design was based on the streetlamps seen in Italy in the 1960’s.   The lamp was designed to allow you to provide light to a source ie a dining table without having to have a suspension fitting on the ceiling above.  The arm of the lamp has three settings to allow you to alter the length of the projection as required – it will however always require a ceiling height of at least 2.5 metres.

Achille Castiglioni was born in Italy and started to design for Flos in 1961, a collaboration that would last almost until he died in 2002. He trained as an architect and initially worked with his brothers in their design studio. He also designed furniture for Zanotta and later in his life he also started working for Alessi. He was inspired by everyday objects and liked the beauty of the natural materials to shine without too much complication.

The base is manufactured in Carrara marble from the city of Carrara, Italy.  Marble has been mined here for thousands of years.  Carrara marble is used for the Pantheon in Rome, and Marble Arch in London is constructed of the same stone.  The base weighs a hefty 65kg and features an ingenious hole through which a broomstick can be placed if it needs to be moved!

Apart from an upgrade to the electrical system the style and production has remained the same as the original design in 1962.  The popularity of the fitting from its launch to the modern-day shows how simple, well designed products that use a minimum of materials are often the ones with longevity.  The styling of the Arco lamp allows it to be used in many interiors and it is unlikely to go out of fashion, it will remain a Design Classic for many years to come.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 15, 2011 8:41 am

    Good choice! Those lamps are utterly lovely.

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