Few lamps have earned the right to be called design icons, but the Arco floor lamp is without doubt one of the most recognised pieces of industrial design.
It has become a shorthand for style and elegance, appearing in countless images – real and rendered – used to market high-end properties.
Always in demand by interior designers and savvy amateurs, the Arco lamp has never been out of production since its launch in 1962.
It was designed by Italian brothers Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni designed the lamp for the manufacturer, Flos. Inspired by street lights, the Arco lamp gives the positioned illumination of an overhead pendant light without being attached to the ceiling.
Pier Giacomo and Achille were trained architects, so it’s not surprising their classic lamp was designed on such a large scale using architectural principles and materials.
Carved as a brutalist rectangular block of solid marble the considerable weight of the base is necessary to counterbalance the weight of the huge cantilevered arm and shade.
Such weight would be difficult to easily move by a single person (the whole lamp weighs over 63kg) so the brothers included a hole in its design – allowing a pole or broom handle to be inserted, making it possible for two people to lift and manoeuvre it. The chamfered corners of the marble base were added so as to minimise personal injury in case anyone fell onto it.
The huge curved arm is made of satin-finished stainless steel and is telescopic. This allows the shade height to be adjusted and makes transportation or moving the lamp from room to room easier.
Organic in form, like a huge singular flower bending over, the shade is created from pressed and polished aluminium. It provides a focused area of light beneath, whilst holes in its top allow some light to spill upwards onto the ceiling for an overall increase in ambient light levels.
Above all else, the Arco lamp creates drama in its striking form and sheer scale. And whilst an official version will set you back around $5,000, you can pick up a quality reproduction like this one from Matt Blatt for a more budget-friendly $595.
Hero image: Kardiel