Flos, meaning “flower” in Latin, believe that:
“Lighting is a way of expressing ideas and exploring emotions, making sense of human history and brightening our present.”
One of the best loved Italian icons of modern design, their focus is on innovation, technology and emotions and the brand still feels as contemporary as it did back in 1962.
Behind the icons there are moving stories that show how this commitment to modernism, technology and simplicity has shaped the brand. Here are three of our favourites:
As Flos release new colour ways of their classic light, the Parentesi, to celebrate its 50th anniversary in colours used by its designers, the story is moving:
According to Flos:
“The story of Parentesi is the story of a dialogue that never happened, a story of ingenuity fueled by a passion for everyday objects, and an example of the respect that those who create should have for the creativity of others.”
True this sentiment, because the story of the Parentesi lamp, designed by Pio Manzu and Achille Castiglioni is one that happened by chance, after the young designer Pio died in a car crash aged just thirty.
Known for designing the iconic Fiat 127, Pio Manzu was driving from Turin to Milan in his wife’s 500 when he had a fatal accident. His widow later presented his drawings to Castiglioni, who immediately was drawn to a sketch that inspired his design of the Parentesi.
As a light, relevant to today, it’s light, affordable and dynamic. The light source is a simple bulb that turns 360 degrees. Even though it’s 50 years old, it feels relevant and current today, and importantly, is sustainable. How?
It’s light source is one of the easiest to replace
Being made up of only a few parts, it would break down easily into recyclable parts
The components are compact so shipping costs are low and reduced fuel consumption
The packaging is completely PET derived and recyclable.
The 50th anniversary editions coming in turquoise - one of Castiglioni’s favourite interiors shades, and Signal Orange, the colour that Manzù used for his prototypes.
Designed in 1967 by brothers Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, the Snoopy Table Lamp is immediately recognisable as a striking resemblance to Charles M. Schulz’s cartoon, with it’s doggy snout. Playful, distinctive and with a unique veined white Carrara marble base.
A favourite of Apple’s design guru, Jony Ive, it’s hard not to love this joyful lamp. It’s silhouette tells us something about Achille Castiglioni’s ironic and playful style.
The 1960s were a period of incredible creativity and exploration of a new, more modern way of living. But Flos also had huge success in the 1990s and 2000s.
Jasper Morrison is a designer with a very minimalist aesthetic, inspired by his Grandfather’s Scandinavian-inspired rooms. He says:
“My grandfather had decorated one room of his house in the Scandinavian style of the 60s - bare floors, long-haired white rugs, and in it was a Braun record player with wooden side panels. I was impressed by the room and the record player.”
He created the much copied Glo-Ball for Flos in 1998 and it had a big impact on modern lighting. Now a contemporary classic, it’s known for its acid-etched glass diffuser that emits a soft and familiar glow.