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DESIGN
Flos 50th Anniversary
Peruse a half-century of innovative lighting with the Italian brand's retrospective iPad app
by Paolo Ferrarini
on 25 April 2012

In its 50-year tenure Flos has truly embodied the spirit of Italian design, serving as a laboratory of experimentation for designers such as Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Achille Castiglioni, Antonio Citterio, Paul Cocksedge, Rodolfo Dordoni, Ron Gilad, Konstantin Grcic, Piero Lissoni, Jasper Morrison, Marc Newson, Tobia Scarpa, Philippe Starck, Patricia Urquiola and Marcel Wanders, just to name a few. Entrepreneurs Dino Gavina, Arturo Eiseinkeil and Cesare Cassina established the brand in 1962 based on the simple values of talent, art and culture, and in 1964 Flos— meaning "flower" in Latin—moved to the Brescia area under the guidance of Sergio Gandini, the visionary who brought in legendary talents like Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni and Tobia Scarpa.

Gandini thus began the brand's remarkable story of passion, hard work and a near obsessive devotion to experimentation, research and innovation—all of which has been diligently documented in the Flos Historical Archive by Gandini's wife and the 2011 Compasso d’Oro winner Piera Pezzolo Gandini. With the help of a team of professionals and friends, for the last six years Pezzolo Gandini has undertaken meticulous research, restoration and classification work to bring together prototypes, designs, original drawings, packaging, graphics, advertising, photographs, film clips, books, catalogues, awards and appearances at trade fairs, exhibitions and museums. The archive takes various forms—multimedia, paper and collections of products and objects.

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In order to celebrate this important anniversary, Flos is launching an iPad application developed by Mobile Dream Studio. We recently had the chance to preview the app in Milan, and it is not simply a catalogue, but a true journey in the history of design. Sergio and Piera's son, Piero, the CEO of Flos, collaborated with writer and journalist Stefano Casciani and photographer Ramak Fazel to create a real family history focused on "precision, project and poetry".

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The app—available late April 2012—offers a detailed chronological sequence of facts, full of archived images of the people who started the company, as well as sketches, prototypes, games, products and videos of the production processes.

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Additionally, a number of Flos' past and present designers sent the company personal love letters which are presented inside the app in the form of the original document, expressing emotions, memories, gratitude and best wishes for the past 50 years and those to come.

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To mark the 50th anniversary Flos is also presenting a futuristic product to begin the next 50 years. The Light Photon lamp, designed by Philippe Stark and using OLED technology, produces light on one side and reflects it on the other, thanks to a mirror-effect metalized head. The base is a single block of stainless steel with an optical sensor that powers on and dims the light. Available from September 2012, this limited edition of 500 pieces will carry a special Flos 50 logo sensor meant as a link between the history and the future of the company.

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