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Philippe Starck (b. 1949) French interior designer


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(established 1962)

The furniture manufacturers and entrepreneurs Dino Gavina and Cesare Cassina founded Flos, a company that became one of the leading Italian light manufacturers in the second half of the 20th century. Its origins lay in the energy of Arturo Eisenkeil who, in 1959, was seeking to find applications for a new, plastic‐based material that he was importing to Italy from the United States. Called ‘cocoon’, it was a spray‐on plastic coating that Gavina and Cassina recognized as having potential for lighting design. From the outset Flos established its reputation through its innovative lighting designs from Achille and Piergiacomo Castiglione, their early designs for Flos including the Arco floor lamp (1962), and the Toio lamp (1962), the latter fashioned from a car headlight mounted on a pole. Many well‐known designers went on to design for the company including Tobia Scarpa, who contributed the Fantasma floor lamp (1962), the Biagio table lamp (1968), and Arriette‐1‐2‐3 ceiling lamp (1973). Other distinguished designs included the Parentesi (1970, winner of the Compasso d'Oro in 1979), designed by the automobile stylist Pio Manzu and Achille Castiglione. In 1974 Flos purchased one of its competitors, Arteluce, another Italian progressive lighting company. Other designs for Flos and Arteluce included Australian Marc Newson's Helice aluminium floor lamp (1992) and Frenchman Marc Sadler's Drop rubber wall lamp, which was awarded a Compasso d'Oro in 1995. The first Philippe Starck lamp Ârà was produced in 1998, followed by the commercially successful colourful plastic Miss Sissi lamp (1991, awarded the Compasso d'Oro in 1995), the Rosy Angelis (1994), Romeo Moon (1996), and Archimoon (1998) series. Other lights commissioned by Arteluce in the closing years of the 20th century include Jasper Morrison's Glo‐ball series (1998), Kostatin Gricic's May Day floor or suspension lamp, and Antonio Citterio's ceiling lamp.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.

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