About Flos (Designer)
Imaginative lighting is a longtime hallmark of modern Italian design. Following in the footsteps of innovative companies such as Artemide and Arteluce, the company Flos brought a fresh aesthetic philosophy to the Italian lighting field in the 1960s, one that would produce several of the iconic floor, table and pendant lamp designs of the era.
Flos — Latin for “flower” — was founded in the northern town of Merano in 1962 by Cesare Cassina (of the famed Cassina furniture-making family) and Dino Gavina, a highly cultured businessman who believed that artistic ideas espoused in postwar Italy could inform commercial design. The two enlisted brothers Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni as their first designers. Even before Flos was formally incorporated, the Castiglionis gave the firm one of its enduring successes with the Taraxacum pendant and associated designs made by spraying an elastic polymer on a metal armature. (George Nelson had pioneered the technique in the United States in the early 1950s.) For other designs, the brothers found inspiration in everyday objects. Suggestive of streetlights, their Arco floor lamp, with its chrome boom and ball-shaped shade sweeping out from a marble block base, has become a staple of modernist decors. Designing for Flos since 1966, Tobia Scarpa has also been inspired by the commonplace. His folded-metal Foglio sconces resemble a shirt cuff; his carved marble Biagio table lamp looks like a jai alai basket.
In 1973, Flos purchased Arteluce, the company founded in 1939 by Gino Sarfatti, and it continues to produce his designs. In recent decades, Flos has contracted work from several noted designers, including Marcel Wanders and Jasper Morrison. As instantly recognizable as they are, many Flos designs remain accessible. As you will see on these pages, while Flos lighting is the essence of modernity, its sleek, subtle designs can be used to strike a sculptural note in even traditional spaces.