Flos thinks that light is the matter with which to express new ideas and create new objects. This is why for over 50 years it has been a world leader in the field of lighting design with its vast collections of indoor and outdoor lamps. Creating iconic products for them to be archetypes, thanks to brilliant ideas coming not only from masters of design, but also from new talents. This is the objective of Flos, that leverages on the past experience to write the future and forges its identity on audacious choices, competences in the technological sector and the poetry of light. Flos shapes light. Its lamps embody the right balance between handcraft and industrial production, art and design, tradition and innovation. It is this longing to innovate and reinvent itself that has enticed the company to experiment with new materials like the cocoon and technologies like the OLED.
Arco, Parentesi and other Flos icons
Across its history, Flos has launched on the market numerous products that have become world icons in the lighting domain. Recalling them all would be unimaginable, but here we mention the most popular ones. When speaking of Flos, it is impossible not to think of Arco, the popular floor lamp designed by the Castiglioni brothers in 1962. Arco is still in our days one if the most representative pieces of the contemporary design furnishing and one of the most desired and purchased items in history, thanks to its plain and rigorous lines and its timeless style. Compasso d’oro in 1979, Parentesi is another masterpiece that has made the history; a smart lamp composed of a steel profile running along a cable held by a weight from one side and hooked on the ceiling from the other side. It is worth to remember Taccia, an absolutely innovative lamp, considered by many an object of desire; the light source is indeed hidden in the base so to avert direct dazzling. Eventually, Toio combines a car headlight with the loops of a fishing rod; a surrealistic lamp entered by right in history.
Flos’ lamps from its debut till the ‘90s
Flos was born in the ‘50s with the idea that light could change the way people live. The encounter among the two founders Dino Gavina and Cesare Cassina with the American Arturo Eisenkil led to the introduction of cocoon, a resin sprayed on a metallic structure and a material for new experiments. In this period Flos attracted to itself, in an exclusive way and for many years to come, Afra and Tobia Scarpa and the Castiglioni brothers for the creation of lighting fixtures. In the ‘60s the artistic management of the company was entrusted to Sergio Gandini, a man with astonishing entrepreneurial skills. He moved the company headquarter from Merano to Brescia and, together with Cassina, took on the challenge to launch Flos on the international scene. This happened in 1972, when Flos made its appearance at the exhibition titled “Italy, the New Domestic Landscape”, exhibiting a selection of objects/icons of the Italian industry that have later become part of the Moma permanent collection. The company expansion continued unstopped. A new facility was opened in Germany and Arteluce was acquired, an historic Italian company specialized in lighting fixtures. In the ‘80s, Pietro Gandini, Sergio’s son, made his entrance in the company and decided to involve an ever growing number of designers for an ever larger offer. Flos established itself in an increasingly powerful way on the market, catching the attention of a large number of design enthusiasts thanks to the relentless pursuit of new solutions and original shapes and to the experiments with innovative materials. Piero Gandini’s policies and strategies proved winning. Achille Castiglioni remained Flos’ creative soul; nonetheless, the absolute news of the ‘80s was the collaboration with Philippe Starck who introduced his Arà and Miss Sissi. Within few days, the latter became one of the major company bestsellers.
Architectural Lighting and the LED technology
Top quality, care for the details, quests for icons, fusion between craftsmanship and industry; these are the key factors at the center of Pietro Gandini’s Flos. In order to survive the changing times, however, it is necessary to create new objects and new languages. The collaborations with Marc Newson and Jasper Morrison – who signed the series Glo-Ball for the company – was emblematic in this sense. In these years Flos came to the concept of “family”, where a series of products differing from one another for the type of application, are strongly recognizable. In 1988, the Compasso d’Oro prize awarded to Konstantin Grcic’s May Day showed that the choices made by the company were successful. With the beginning of the new millennium and the LED technology revolution, Flos not only reinvented itself adopting the newly affirmed technologies, but also decided to inaugurate the Flos Architectural Lighting in partnership with the Spanish company Antares. Designers with the likes of Piero Lissoni, Antonio Citterio, and the same Grcic gave life to a number of bold and essential solutions for the contract environment. From this moment on, Flos has followed a twofold path; on the one hand, the research directed to grand architectural projects where artificial lighting becomes an architectural component in itself; on the other, designers’ ideas dedicated to the more intimate and personal house space.