MoMA
Achille Castiglioni, Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. Arco Floor Lamp. 1962
Not on view
Manufacturer
Flos S.p.A.
Medium
Marble and stainless steel
Dimensions
(maximum): 95 1/8 x 84 x 12 1/4" (241.6 x 213.4 x 31.1 cm) (minimum): 95 1/8 x 81 1/2 x 12 1/4" (241.6 x 207 x 31.1 cm)
Credit
Gift of the manufacturer
Object number
65.1990

The Arco Floor Lamp solves a practical problem: the need for an overhead lamp that does not require drilling a hole in the ceiling. A street lamp inspired the Castiglioni brothers’ design, demonstrating Achille Castiglioni’s motto that “design demands observation.” By inserting a steel arch into a heavy marble pedestal, the designers created a lamp that is able to illuminate objects eight feet away from its base—far enough to light the middle of a dining table.

Gallery label from Shaping Modernity 1880–1980, March 28, 2012–September 8, 2013
Additional text

Castiglioni designed more than sixty lamps and a host of other objects, working from 1945 until 1968 with his brother Pier Giacomo and then on his own. One of their best-known lamp designs, Arco, came about through the challenge of a practical problem: how to provide a ceiling lamp that would not require drilling a hole in the ceiling.

Castiglioni's motto, "design demands observation," proved accurate, for it was a street lamp that gave the brothers the inspiration for this fixture. Street lamps, affixed to the ground, have a shape that enables them to project their light beams several feet away from their bases.

In this domestic adaptation, the Castiglionis were able to illuminate objects eight feet away from the lamp's base—far enough to light the middle of a dining table—by inserting a steel arch into a heavy Carrara marble pedestal. They studied the span of the arch to be sure that its form would provide enough space for one person carrying a tray to pass behind someone sitting at the table. In addition, they made sure the heavy lamp could be moved by two people by inserting a broomstick through the hole in the marble base. Arco is a prime example of the Castiglionis' rigorous approach to design solutions.

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999, p. 296
Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource

Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource