The Castiglioni brothers’ Arco lamp, a new concept of light

The Arco lamp, designed by Pier Giacomo and Achille Castiglioni in 1962 for Flos, is now an icon of Made in Italy. It also happened to be at the center of the first legal fight in Italy where an object of industrial design was treated as a work of art, that is as the product of intellectual activity worthy of legal protection in terms of copyright.

Inspired by old lampposts, Arco creates pendant lighting without the commitment of choosing where the fixture should be in the long-term, as happens with chandeliers.

The lamp can easily be moved around. It is essentially made up of a marble base and a curved steel structure, at the end of which is the actual light, with a cap and adjustable aluminum ring.

Milanese architect and urban planner Stefano Boeri has commented, “Arco is a synthesis of elegance, genius and simplicity that would go on to great market success. Its value is not simply the sum of the economic, aesthetic and symbolic value of its three components: as an object, it multiplies those values and creates something original and new.”

“The creative use of few resources – without great investments, powerful machinery or innovative materials – allowed not only a new lamp, but a new concept of light to be born in Milan in 1962. The Castiglioni brothers’ creative activity is an emblem of ‘doing more with less’ production processes” (translated from S. Boeri, “Fare di più con meno”, Il Saggiatore, Milan 2012).

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