On a walk in Paris in the early 1960s, Italian brothers Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni had a light-bulb moment. In the elegant arch of the city’s street lights, they found an enduring design solution—a directional light that didn’t require ceiling suspension. Enter: Arco, a flexible floor lamp that emerged from a hunk of marble and could function over a dining table or as a reading light. No ceiling fittings needed. Within 1962 it was released by Italian manufacturer Flos, which has produced it ever since.
The stem, made of three stainless-steel pieces that extend like a telescope, stretches to nearly seven feet wide, allowing the Arco in order to sit easily out of foot traffic. “It’s a ceiling lamp without being the ceiling light, ” explains Giovanna Castiglioni, daughter associated with Achille. It became a screen star almost immediately—one arched more than a conference desk in The particular Italian Job (1969), two illuminated an office in Diamonds Are Forever (1971). Over the years, the best-seller has lit up the particular homes of tastemakers, from Andrea Molteni to Willy Rizzo. “She’s tall and thin, ” says interior designer Darren Brown, who used one in a soaring LA living room. “And there are few alternatives that bring light to a coffee table. ”
The 60-kilogram Carrara base has bevelled, bump-proof corners and the hole that will makes the lamp easy to pick up. The aluminium shade is perforated so it does not overheat. Look for these clues if you’re trying to verify the much-copied Arco. Or order the particular Arco K, a limited, crystal-based edition Flos just released for the lamp’s 60th birthday. Its NFC tag can be scanned to confirm authenticity. But knock-offs usually reveal themselves, says Flos CEO Roberta Silva. “Making a copy is not easy.