The choice is huge. This certainly applies to lamps. There are so many lamps designed that I limit myself to the floor lamp in this blog. The floor lamp is ideal for the living room, but is certainly not out of place in the hall or bedroom. Some are made for ambiance, others, such as a reading lamp, have a more practical function.
Seeing the list you will notice that Italian designers dominate and that the market of iconic floor lamps is owned by a handful of manufacturers. A number of floor lamps are part of a collection and very successful derivatives of, for example, a table lamp. Others are really designed as a floor lamp, such as the Arco lamp and Papilona. What they all have in common is that they are iconic lamps that are still very popular.
Table of Contents
- Papillona floor lamp
- Megaron floor lamp
- Shogun floor lamp
- Tolomeo Mega Terra
- Orbital floor lamp
- Lady Costanza
Designers: Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni
I remember the Arco overhead lamp from my childhood. The lamp was in the living room of an uncle and aunt whom I loved to visit. For me, the lamp symbolized balance and peace, which I experienced when I visited them. The Arco lamp was designed in 1962 by the brothers, and founders of lamp manufacturer Flos, Pier Giacomo and Achille Castiglioni. Characteristic is the large heavy marble block with a hole in it. By inserting a stick into the hole, the lamp can be moved by two people relatively easily. The Carrara marble base has a telescopic arm made of satin-finished stainless steel. The aluminum lampshade, which consists of two parts, hangs at the end of the arm. The top part has large holes which beautifully radiates light on the ceiling. The shade projects light directly onto the surface. This makes the lamp suitable for both the dining room and the living room.
The timeless floor lamp is a real design icon that you regularly see in films, advertisements and social media. This is how the lamp in The Beatles’ Help! used, in the Iron Man home, along with the Barcelona Chair and Eames Lounge Chair in Tron: Legacy. I still think the Arco arc lamp is beautiful. It is now also in my living room. 🙂
Designers: Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni
Another floor lamp by the Castiglioni brothers in this list is the Toio (Italian for toys). They designed this lamp in the same year as the Arco lamp, but the Toio has a more industrially simplistic character. The design is more eccentric and playful. All parts can be seen in their original form without unnecessary additions. The first version had an iron core transformer in the base and used low voltage as the light source, now the floor lamp is arranged for use with a 220v voltage light source with dimmer, but fortunately the original design has been retained. The base is made of enameled steel and hexagonal nickel-plated brass stem with telescopic head. There are fishing rod rings on the stem to guide the cord to the car lamp.
The Toio is an uplighter so it illuminates the ceiling and wall, making the lamp suitable for illuminating corners to give the room more dimension. Layering your lighting creates ambience and space.
This lamp is iconic and is exhibited in museums around the world.
Designers: Achille Castiglioni & Pio Manzù
Achille Castiglioni has been perhaps the most intelligent lighting designer in the last fifty years. The Parentesi is the third lamp by Achille Castiglioni in this list, but this lamp he designed together with Pio Manzù. Technically, the Parentesi is not a floor lamp or a pendant lamp, but it is used as a floor lamp. Because the lamp can be adjusted both in height and in degrees, it can also have various functions, from reading lamp to spot and for ambiance. The flexible combined with the simplistic, makes this lamp unique and functional.
The top tube is attached to the ceiling and the steel wire is stretched between the tube and the cylindrical weight on the floor. Threaded on the wire is a plastic tube on which the lamp is attached.
In 2014, the Parentesi lamp received a super modern sibling, the OK lamp designed by Konstantin Grcic. The principle of the lamp is the same, but the OK has a high tech appearance. The lamp looks like a sun on a wire. The light bulb has been replaced by an ultra-flat LED disc with edge lighting technology and the square sliding mechanism contains the electronic components and a soft-touch switch. It is also special that both the Parentesi lamp by Achille Castiglioni and Pio Manzù and the OK lamp by Konstantin Grcic have been awarded the prestigious Compasso d’Oro prize, in 1979 and 2014 respectively.
4. Papillona floor lamp
Designers: Afra & Tobia Scarpa
Unlike the Papillona floor lamp, all floor lamps described above are still part of the current rich collection by Flos. The Papillona floor lamp went out of production in 2010 but is often found available used online.
The Italian architect and designer Tobia Scarpa designed the Papillona together with his wife Afra. The 192 centimeter high aluminum floor lamp has a funnel-shaped lampshade at the top. The front and back of the shade are made of metallic prismatic glass.
The Flos Papillona is a floor lamp with a simple and modern design. Other well-known lamps of the Scarpa couple are the floor lamps Butterfly and Fantasma, the outdoor lamp Tamburo and the table lamp Biagio. The couple worked with brands such as Gavina, B&B Italia, Cassina, Benneton and San Lorenzo.
5. Megaron floor lamp
Designer: Gianfranco Frattini
The architect Gianfranco Frattini turned to industrial design when he was faced with the lack of lighting for his own interior projects. His most famous designs are all interior designs. The list “most iconic side tables” certainly includes his “nest table 783”: four tables that can be pushed together to form one table, which then resembles a drum. The glass coffee table 784 with chrome frame is designed in the same style as the Megaron floor lamp.
The lamp is an enameled aluminum rounded flat tube with a slot in the center of the tube. The tube is placed on a thermoplastic black base and the lights upwards. The Megaron floor lamp is available in glossy aluminum and glossy black.
The minimalist design, simplicity and elegance make this lamp timeless and suitable for different spaces such as living room and office.
6. Shogun floor lamp
Designer: Mario Botta
The Shogun may seem like the stranger in our midst. But nothing could be further from the truth and that can be seen as soon as the lamp is turned on. The shadows the lamp projects on the wall and the ceiling is artistic. The Shogun floor lamp illustrates Mario Botta’s belief that light must create an atmosphere through shadow.
The architect and designer Mario Botta is known for the use of geometric shapes. When the Shogun floor lamp is turned off, it is an art object that looks nothing like a lamp. And this is exactly what the Shogun is; an object that gives light, visual art with a function. The Shogun is an abstract image of a human with a head, body and feet, plus a navel.
7. Tolomeo Mega Terra
Designer: Michele De Lucchi en Giancarlo Fassina
The Tolomeo floor lamp and the Tolemeo Mega Terra are mainly known for their little brother, the Tolomeo desk lamp. Both lamps look like extra-large desk lamps. The Tolomeo is Artemide’s most iconic lamp and therefore earns a place in the list of “most iconic floor lamps”.
It is the perfection that makes this lamp special. The slim arm, the exposed joint, the visible tight wires and the simplistic hood that rotates 360 degrees.
Not only was the design spot on, but the timing was perfect. The Tolomeo was launched in the midst of the era of high technology and for the dot-com bubble. Soon the Tolomeo stood on the offices of architects and designers and later on those in the internet companies.
Although both lamps are derived from the desk lamp, they are elegant overhead lamps. The Tolomeo floor lamp is very suitable as a reading lamp. The parchment shade of the Mega Terra gives the Tolomeo a warmer look, allowing it to be placed above the lounge or dining room table.
8. Orbital floor lamp
Designer: Ferruccio Laviani
The Orbital by Ferruccio Laviani is one of the most commercially successful floor lamps of the 1990s. The biomorphic shapes, popular in the 1950s, give the design of this striking diffuser a strong retro look. The colorful or white elements, made of sandblasted Murano glass, produce a soft light. During the day (when the lamp is turned off) and in the evening (when the Orbital illuminates the room) it is an eye-catcher in every room of the house. The Orbital is part of the permanent design collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art.
Ferruccio Laviani started his career with Tolomeo designer Michele De Lucchi. Later he started his own design studio where he also designed lighting for Kartel. Laviani also designed the Tuareg Terra for Foscarine.
Designer: Marc Sadler
Without wanting to be disrespectful, the Twiggy is the “other” arc light and next to the Arco lamp the most famous arc light. That is very special, knowing that the Twiggy arc light was designed more than 45 years later. In those 45 years, much has changed, especially in terms of technology and knowledge. The lamp was made in close collaboration by Marc Sadler and Foscarine. Marc Sadler has been experimenting and designing with plastics since his studies. The thin stick of the lamp is made of polycarbonate which has the special characteristic that it is flexible and always returns to its original shape, it bends but does not bend too much. Designing and making the polycarbonate was a complicated process, because normally these types of materials have the characteristic of being very rigid or very flexible.
At first Sadler wanted to make a design based on a fisherman with a fishing rod. That idea has been simplified thanks to an idea of the Foscarine team, to take a round disk as a floor plate with a bamboo stick that looks like it was planted there.
The Twiggy lamp is sleek and simple in design, with the technology completely invisible. But most people will not fall in love with the technical masterpiece of the Twiggy, but with its beautiful minimalist appearance. Twiggy floor lamp is available in various colors and as an outdoor lamp. According to Sadler, like the Lacoste polo shirts, the color changes the look and personality of the lamp.
10. Lady Costanza
Designer: Paolo Rizzato
Like the Twiggy above, the Costanza is a design based on a combination of the design’s brilliance, in this case Paolo Rizzato, and the possibilities of the new technology. The Costanza uses two innovative technologies. The first is again the polycarbonate of which the shade is made. Due to the use of polycarbonate, the shade can bend without a frame and be made into its shape, but exist in flat form during storage and transport. The second innovation is the electronic touch dimmer that also allows the intensity to be adjusted by touch, taking advantage of the conductive properties of the human body.
The Costanza table lamp actually has the traditional and familiar shapes of a table lamp, but is also full of contrasts: the square, heavy base contrasted with a round and almost nothing weighing shade, the traditional and at the same time modern design. The Lady Costanza floor lamp is a light-footed lady who dances through the room and gives the whole room an airy and soft atmosphere.