1962: THE ARCO
The Arco… you can almost smell the Slim Panatella
and hear James Last on the music centre. Designed
for Flos in 1962 by legendary Italian brothers
Achille and Piero Castiglioni, the iconic floorlamp
is undergoing a bit of a revival. Modelled on a
streetlight, it projects the reflector eight feet from its
heavy marble base. Be warned: The latter only truly
sits well on a shagpile carpet.
1937: LUXO L-1
A derivation of George Carwardine’s Anglepoise, the
Luxo L-1, is a classic in its own right. This Swedish
version by Luxo founder Jac Jacobsen has an extra
spring at the elbow and a more curvaceous reflector.
In its 78-year history, an awesome 30 million lamps
have been sold, and its iconic status has been
guaranteed thanks to its inclusion in Pixar’s logo.
A modern classic, Tizio reworks the adjustable-arm
principle of the Anglepoise with great flair and
subtlety. It carries electric current to the low-voltage
halogen light source along its industrial steel arms
so no untidy wires interrupt the stark lines of its
taut, economical form. German designer Richard
Sapper worked in Italy for many years, giving his
work the sensuality of Milanese design.
The ubiquitous Japanese-style paper lampshade
dates back to 1950, when Japanese artist Isamu
Noguchi was asked to help revive a small Japanese
town renowned for producing traditional paper
lanterns. He designed the Akari hanging lamp, a
collapsible design made of mulberry-bark paper –
the paper used by the ancient Japanese print artists.
It was popularised in the UK by Habitat.
1986: TOLOMEO TASK LIGHT
Named after the Greek astronomer Ptolemy,
this icon of precision is the dot-com generation’s
Anglepoise, and was designed by Michele De Lucchi
and Giancarlo Fassina for Artemide. Concealed
springs in the arms keep the steel cables in tension
and the six-inch aluminium reflector rotates though
360 degrees. In 1989, Italian designers bestowed on
it their highest honour, the Compasso d’Oro.