Design IconModernism & Design

Parentesi lamp, freedom on cable

The Design Icon of the week was designed by Achille Castiglioni starting from a sketch by Pio Manzù, and realized by Flos since 1971.

The name directly recalls the shape of the central element of the lamp, a shaped steel tube that resembles a parenthesis.
The first project of the lamp is the result of the pencil and ingenuity of Pio Manzù, who tries to give life to a lamp that could slide vertically from floor to ceiling (and vice versa) and rotate around a pivot.

The main detail of the Parentesi lamp by Flos, designed by Achille Castiglioni and Pio Manzù

The sketch depicted a cylindrical box with a slot for the passage of light and this box flowed on a rod and was fixed with a screw.

Arrived in the hands of Achille Castiglioni, the drawing is reinterpreted. The metal rod was replaced by a metal cable tensioned between floor and ceiling. The cylinder was replaced by a metal tubular in the form of a bracket with a hollow section in which the cable flows.
The bulb and its support are anchored to the parenthesis that is stationary in position on the cable thanks to the play of friction that its shape creates; However, the lamp is easily moved along the cable when an external force is applied. Thus was born the famous Parentesi.

The lamp is a masterpiece of design, a perfect example of the concept of form-function.

It is very rational, has few components and, despite this minimalism, is very versatile; It can slide vertically between floor and ceiling, and the bulb can rotate 360 degrees.
The result is a lightweight product both visually and physically.

Since the year of its production, Parentesi was a great success and was recognized and appreciated for its intelligent and functional design.

Even the packaging with which it was presented was simple and functional.
It was a transparent plastic molded that recalled the bracket shape of the metal tubular.

Awarded in 1979 with the Compasso d’oro, today it is exhibited in many museums around the globe, including the MoMa in New York and the Triennale Design Museum in Milan.

Parentesi is a timeless product universally recognized as a Design Icon and still today a source of inspiration for designers all over the world.

I colleghi mi chiamano Baffo. Adoro giocare a calcio balilla in pausa pranzo e il design anni 50 e 60.

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