The Arco K lamp, one of the protagonists of Milan Design Week 2022, is the limited edition with which Flos celebrates 60 years of the Arco lamp, designed by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni in 1962. For Arco K Flos abandons the materiality of the marble base for the transparency of the crystal, revealing the operating principles of the Castiglioni lamp.
Flos celebrates the sixty years of Arco, the masterpiece lamp by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, with a special limited edition of the icon that saw the light in 1962, the same year the company was founded. Arco K, this is the name of the limited edition, will be available in only 2022 numbered pieces, and will have to be optioned online through a pre-booking: the complexity and sophistication of the work, in fact, require long processing times which translate into a unique accuracy of each single product.
The result of one of the happiest intuitions in the history of design, Arco is universally considered an ambassador of Made in Italy in the world. The anniversary becomes an opportunity to revisit the lamp and enhance the design gesture of the Castiglioni brothers: the arch, the true essence of the project, as also underlined by the name.
Arco K comes after twenty years from the other limited edition of the icon, which in 2002 celebrated forty years of life of creation and of Flos.
The heart of the Arco lamp is in the arch
A floor lamp that illuminates a dining table like a chandelier, Arco is a crossover between traditional types. It is an object that symbolizes expressive freedom in interiors, in line with the social and cultural revolution that was taking place in the years in which it was designed.
As often happens in the work of the Castiglioni, the inspiration for the project came by chance.
“Looking at street lamps, Achille and Pier Giacomo began to consider how the
shape of the arch made it possible to carry the light from above onto objects. And then to imagine one
lamp able to perform this task by freeing itself from the fixed ceiling light point ",
explain the design curators of Flos, Calvi and Brambilla. “Inventing this gesture in the falling space
on things with kindness and originates from a freely transportable block in the room: it is
This was the great revolution that Arco brought to the history of design ".
Technology and high manufacturing, this is how a masterpiece relives
Starting from the (philological) principle that celebrating Arco means celebrating its design principle, for the limited edition it was decided to lay bare the base, ideally transporting the gaze from the arch to its origin and to the structure that supports it.
The decision to work on marble was also reached by considering another question. Over the years, in fact, the marble of the lamp base has been associated with an idea of preciousness and luxury very far from the original feeling of the designers: the Castiglionis, in fact, had selected this material for the base of Arco for its qualities. of heaviness and strength in supporting the weight of the bow. At the time it was the easiest material to find and the most logical to use.
For Arco K, on the other hand, a material was chosen that 60 years ago could never have been used and whose processing required the development of an ad hoc procedure: a lead-free crystal, which, thanks to its transparency, reveals the mechanics of the lamp. and explains its operation and principle.
Because the crystal has replaced the marble
The heart of the Arco K idea is the use of a recyclable material, heavy, refined and technical at the same time: a lead-free crystal, commonly used for optical prisms in the laboratory, laser generators and small gadgets that require internal 3D laser engraving. .
The challenge was, of course, to move from the micro to the macro scale and maintain the same high accuracy in the result. To deal with it, special machines have been created that have made it possible to obtain a perfect piece in all its parts. A transparent and beautiful block that elevates the already high perceived and iconic value of the Arco lamp.
The high precision of the shape obtained, which requires a long and complex manufacturing process, is also a disincentive to plagiarism.
Only a coil spring has been added around the fixing pin to ensure that the inner glass is protected from accidental scratches. Finally, the lower part of the block rests on a black mat, invisible to the naked eye thanks to the play of reflections created in the crystal block.
From broom to rolling pin
Arco's original design features a through hole in which a broomstick can be inserted to move the marble block and lamp from one room or point to another. A gesture that is the fruit of
an extraordinary blend of practicality and irony typical of the Castiglioni projects.
In the special wooden box with which Arco K is shipped, a special wooden support is provided, shorter and more practical than the broom handle, which resembles a rolling pin, with the central part covered with an anti-scratch layer to avoid the risk of damaging the crystal in the movements.
For the rest, the Arco K project is unchanged from the original version: the stem is a metal profile with a U section, adjustable in three positions. The light source is a light bulb with a semi-silver cap, albeit LED. The shell is made up of a solid and a perforated part, designed by the Castiglioni to let the heat developed by the light source escape and create a characteristic ceiling decoration.
Read also: Achille Castiglioni / Arc Lamp