Arco got the hang of it

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Ingo Schaer
Written by Ingo Schaer



The floor lamp Arco by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni from 1962 was inspired by the shape of street lamps. An iconic blend of pendant and floor lamp.




The Arco can be mounted without drilling and can be easily adjusted



Whoever purchases the Arco by Flos is making a weighty decision – after all, the design classic from 1962 weighs an astonishing 65 kilograms. The majority of the weight comes from the massive marble pedestal on which the round arch luminaire is secured. This makes transporting the luminaire not necessarily an easy task. But once placed in your home, the Arco offers a decisive advantage: It has a maximum height of two meters and is therefore as high as a pendant lamp and can quite easily be set up, without drilling in the ceiling. Unlike a suspension lamp, whose position, once established, cannot be changed, the Arco can be moved very easily. It only takes a broomstick, which is inserted through the provided opening, and now the light can be moved freely around in the room.



Inspired by street lights



For the design of Arco, the two brothers Achille and Pier Giacomo have adapted the structure of street lighting for a room lamp. These are firmly anchored to the ground and yet offer the possibility to illuminate a large area of several meters. What does not work with street lights is an adjustment in height. Unlike with Arco: the arm of the lamp comprises three telescopically assembled steel parts that can be adjusted flexibly. Invisible hidden in the pipes is the cabling. At the upper part of the screen is a mounted hood whose light fixture is provided with holes for cooling. The result is an iconic lamp, which cleverly combines the advantages of a hanging lamp and a floor lamp.



Icon of industrial design


Since its release in 1962, the shape of the Arco has not changed significantly. The lamp still consists of a rounded block of marble, the arched luminaire arm and the lampshade. Only the technical features have been adapted to the current electrical standards over time. Whoever wants to admire the light fixture, which is not exactly a bargain for around 1,600 Euro, can do this today not only in lighting stores, but also in museums. The Museum of Modern Art has introduced the industrial design lamp as an outstanding specimen of industrial design in its collection.





Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni

Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni

Pier Giacomo (1913-1968) and Achille Castiglioni (1918-2002) are the two youngest of three brothers who all studied architecture at the Milan Polytechnic. After graduating Pier and the eldest brother, Livio (1911-1979), founded a design studio in Milan, which was joined by the youngest brother, Achille, in 1944. From 1945 until the early death of Pier Giacomo Castiglioni in 1968, Pier Giacomo and Achille designed numerous design objects together.



In 1962 the design classic Arco was created for the Italian manufacturer Fios. The designs by Pier Giacomo and Achille also include the floor lamp “Luminator” for Arredoluce and the pendant lamps “Taraxacum” and “Spluegen Braeu” for Fios. Pier Giacomo Castiglioni taught from 1946 until his death Design at the Milan Polytechnic. His brother Achille taught Interior and Industrial Design from 1982 to 1986. He also taught Industrial Design at the Politecnico of Turin as professor from 1970 to 1980.

About the author

Ingo Schaer

Ingo Schaer

Ingo has been in the lighting business for over 20 years. He regularly blogs about trends and tips in the industry while running one of the most complete contemporary lighting ecommerce sites on the net. Please take a moment to browse his website and feel free to contact Ingo for all your lighting needs.

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