Two Flos Grip floor lamps by designed by Achille Castiglioni at Italian design and furniture gallery Casati Gallery


Italian lighting manufacturer

FLOS (established in 1962) is an Italian lighting company founded by designers Dino Gavina, Cesare Cassina, and entrepreneur Arturo Eisenkeil. The original vision of the company came from with Auturo Eisenkeil in 1959, when he found a new product application for a polyamide material that he had imported from the United States to Italy. The material, called “cocoon,” became an innovation as the spray-on plastic coating that could be used for lighting design. The cocoon material was originally invented in the United States as a packing material, but designers would construct a steel base as foundation and have the cocoon coating spun and molded onto the frame to become the “shade” of the lamp. read more

By late 1960, Dino Gavina, and Arturo Eisenkeil had already started to collaborate with Tobia ScarpaAchille Castiglioni, and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni to create lighting designs with polyamide and metal.  Among these designs are the Castiglioni brothers Gatto lamp (1961), and Tobia Scarpa’s Fantasma floor lamp (1961).

In 1962 Flos was officially established, and immediately after its founding, the brothers Achille Castiglioni and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni designed for Flos lamps that would eventually become some of the most well-known, and most successful products of industrial design of the 1960s. Among these lamps are the Viscontea and Taraxacum (1962), which also established that the polyamide, or cocoon material, provided the advantages of being highly translucent, easy to maintain, not flammable, strong, and nearly impenetrable.

The collaboration among FLOS, the Castiglioni brothers, and designer Tobia Scarpa would contribute important designs for years to come, some examples of this long collaboration are: the Toio, Arco and Taccia Lamps by the Castiglioni brothers (1962), the Foglio lamp by Tobia Scarpa (1966), the Snoopy lamp by the Castiglioni brothers (1967), the Biagio table lamp by Tobia Scarpa (1968), the Parentesi Suspension light by Achille Castiglioni and Pio Manzu (1971), and the Ariette 123 ceiling lamps by Tobia Scarpa (1973).

In 1963, Sergio Gandini too the helm of Flos, and immediately infused the company with an even more robust vigor.  He stated that “the company’s endeavors and creative fantasy could coexist without contradiction; the combination of the two would bring success to the brand.”  In order to execute this vision, he moved Flos from Merano to Brescia, in 1964, in order to attract the required creative talent. In 1973, Flos bought Arteluce, the prominent Italian lighting company established by Gino Sarfatti in 1939, and incorporated Arteluce’s designs to the Flos collection.

In 1996, Piero Gandini, son of Sergio Gandini, became Flos’ CEO and continued with the company’s tradition of collaborating with leading-edge designers.  Today, Flos counts among its contemporary designers: Philippe Starck, Jasper Morrison, Michael Anastassiades, Patricia Urquiola, and the Boroullec brothers, among others.

On September 2014, Piero Gandini announced that he had agreed to sell 80% of the company’s stock to the investment group Investindustrial for Euro 400 Million. Investment group Investindustrial also had a controlling stake at the Italian furniture designer and maker B&B Italia since 2015, and owned Danish lighting manufacturer Lois Poulsen since 2018. In late 2018, it was announced that the U.S. private equity firm The Carlyle Group and Ivestindustrial, in combination with minority investments from the Gandini family (former owners of Flos) and the Busnelli family (former owners of B&B Italia), will own equal share of the portfolio of high-end interior design companies that include Flos, Lois Poulsen, and B&B Italia.

The company’s full line includes indoor and outdoor lighting, such as chandeliers, pendant lights, table lamps, wall sconces, and ceiling lights. With five Compasso d’Oro awards, Flos has always relied on cutting-edge thinking, which has kept the company at the forefront of design.

Last updated: April 22, 2019

For more information on Flos, please visit Flos company site

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