Like so many iconic designs, the Arco Floor Lamp is the brilliant marriage of form and function. Notable for its large, arcing shape, this floor lamp does what none before it really could: provide direct light from above. With a light source that's almost 7 feet away from the base, the Arco can illuminate a dining table or large sofa from above, like a pendant light on a base. You'll be able to see your dinner without installing a wired-in overhead light.
Designed in 1962 at the height of Italy’s post-war design renaissance, the Arco Floor Lamp was just one of 150 or so practical everyday objects designed by Italian brothers Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. Led by Achille, the pair sought to solve consumers’ problems—sometimes ones they didn’t even know they had—through simple designs, a strategy evident not only by the concept of the Arco, but by how it is constructed as well.
Inspired by a common streetlight design, the Arco's bulb is encased in a globe-like aluminum shade that is suspended by a thin, square stainless steel neck that can arc as high as 95 inches off the ground and 79 inches horizontally away from its base (though the arc is adjustable). Holding this sweeping design in place is the large marble base. Nearly 2 feet tall and 10 inches wide, the heavy piece can serve as a small side table in a living room, or can easily be hidden in the corner of a room. And a hole in the middle of the base allows two people to move the 78-pound lamp with the aid of a broom handle.
Fifty-seven years after its debut, the Arco Floor Lamp is still an iconic and desirable design—made famous in part by its big-screen appearances in movies like Diamonds Are Forever and The Italian Job. Obtaining the authentic Arco, still produced according to the Castiglionis’ original design by Flos, will cost you a hefty $3,500. But there are plenty of inspired-by versions at more affordable price-points.
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