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Arco Lamp: An enduring classic

Designed by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, this elegant lamp, an icon of modern design, is inspired by street lamps.

Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni - and of course also Livio, the ignored brother - fervently believed that design should change the form and function of objects. Achille Castiglioni, undoubtedly the best known and greatest master of Italian industrial design, once explained his understanding of design in the following words: "Start from scratch. Listen to common sense. Know your means and your goals. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Castiglioni family, especially Achille, were very prolific and designed more than 150 products: from chairs to vacuum cleaners to lamps. Probably their best-known object is the Arco floor lamp, which they designed in 1958 (Pier Giacomo died a decade later) and published by the Italian firm Flos since 1962.

The Arco lamp was designed in response to the dilemma of how to have a hanging lamp without having to drill holes in the ceiling. The wide arc of its structure, attached to a solid marble base, allows it to be placed anywhere, from next to a dining table to next to an armchair. Achille Castiglioni (1918-2002), an architect by training, mentor to current design figures such as Patricia Urquiola - whose thesis he supervised - and a great figure of design in post-war Italy, was a professor of industrial design. This facet allowed him to know and delve into the industrial value as a decorative element of a house. The Arco lamp, which he designed in 1958 -Flos began to produce it in 1962-is a clear example of this, as it draws on the influence of the design of humble street lamps. The brothers adapted that idea and took it one step further. They succeeded, and their design is now part of people's homes.

The stainless steel arch rises from the solid Carrara marble base and can illuminate objects up to almost two and a half meters. In addition, its height allows people to pass underneath it without any problem. It's like a ceiling light, but without all the wiring mess. The lamp base weighs 65 kilograms. There is no danger of it falling over, and moving it is best done with a couple of people. A hole goes from the foot to the top of the base to put a broomstick that can be used as an aid when moving the lamp. Undoubtedly, an efficient detail. The lampshade consists of a perforated hemisphere so that the bulb's heat does not overheat it. In addition, it also has a movable aluminum ring with which the light can be directed.

When he was a teacher, Castiglioni used to come to class early. He always carried a bag where he liked to take everyday objects he found on his walks. Among other things, he collected colanders and milking benches. One of his intentions was to show his students the strong relationship between the form and function of an object. The Arco is undoubtedly a timeless design, an enduring classic. It will be the centerpiece in any space, but more importantly, it adapts well to almost any style. Its curved shape is perfect in contrast to an area where straight-lined furniture predominates. In addition, stainless steel also fits in with a contemporary style environment. Here, the light, modern styling of the Arco allows it to achieve an outstanding balance when combined with bolder, bolder patterns and furnishings.

In short, the Arco is an aesthetically impeccable piece, a landmark of Italian design in the second half of the 20th century.

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