The Arco Floor Lamp by Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni is one of the most iconic classic lighting designs of the 1960s.
“We were thinking about a lamp that shines light onto a table. They already existed, but you had to walk around them. To leave enough space around the table, the base had to be at least two meters away. Which was how the idea for Arco came into being. We wanted to make it with commercially available parts and we found that curved steel angle iron worked perfectly well. Then there was the problem of the counterweight: a heavy weight was needed to support it all. Our first thought was concrete, but then we chose marble because the same weight took up less space, and also because we could obtain a better finish for a lower cost. In Arco nothing is decorative: even the beveled corners on the base have a function, which is not to hurt us; even the hole isn't a flight of fantasy, but to make it easier to lift the base.” Achille Castiglioni (interview for Ottagono, 1970)
This ingenious floor lamp is one of the most imitated design icons ever and there are several versions of how it came to be designed. But in fact this visionary synthesis of genius, simplicity and perfection, designed by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni in 1962, was simply in response to the need for a suspension lamp that could shine its light on a table without requiring holes to be drilled in the ceiling.
To mark the fiftieth birthday of the Arco floor lamp - which coincides with the company’s fiftieth anniversary - FLOS has paid tribute to its best-known lamp, now an iconic design throughout the world, by releasing a new version with LED light source. To leave enough space around the table, the base had to be at least two meters away. Which was how the idea for Arco came into being.—Achille Castiglioni (interview for Ottagono, 1970)
Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni
Achille Castiglioni was born in Milan in 1918. As early as 1940 he dedicated himself to testing industrial production with brothers Livio (1911-1979) and Pier Giacomo (1913-1968). After graduating in architecture in 1944, he began research into shapes, techniques and new materials, aimed at developing an integral design process.
He was one of the founders of ADI in 1956. In 1969, he was authorised by the Ministry of Education to teach Artistic Design for Industry and was a professor at Turin's Faculty of Architecture until 1980 and then professor of Industrial Design in Milan until 1993.
Pier Giacomo Castiglioni was born in 1913. In 1937, he established the Architecture,Urban Buildings and Research into Industrial Design practice with his brother Livio. In 1952 Livio left; another brother, Achille joined the practice in 1944.
He graduated from the Department of Architecture at Milan Polytechnic in 1937 and co-wrote a libel on the Milan Town Planning Scheme: “Fifty Significant Squares in theMilanof the Future” with the architect Carlo Pagani in 1938.
Lecturer and Assistant in Architectural Composition, Professor in Drawing and Relief Work at the Milan Faculty of Architecture. Member of the Board at the Association of Architects and at the Milan City Council Building Commission.