FLOS Papillona Floor Lamp
Materials: Enamelled aluminium base, rod and funnel-shaped lampshade. Metallised prismatic glass. Some metal parts and screws. Aluminium reflector. Porcelain socket.
Height: 192 cm / 75.59”
Lampshade: 26 x 16 cm / 10.23 x 6.29”
Base: 25 x 25 cm / 9.84 x 9.84”
Electricity: 1 halogen bulb R7s, 1 x 300 watt maximum, 110/220 volt. Any type of halogen bulb can be used. Not a specific one preferred.
Period: 1970s – Mid-Century Modern.
Designer: Tobia Scarpa in 1975.
Manufacturer: FLOS Spa, Via Angelo Faini, 2 – 25073 Bovezzo (Brescia), Italy.
Other versions: The FLOS Papillona floor lamp was made in a few colours over the years. It went out of production around 2010. In some shops online they are still for sale.
Tobia Scarpa was born in Venice, Italy in 1935. He is the son of the famous architect and designer Carlo Scarpa (1906-1978).
He earned a degree in architecture from the Università Iuav di Venezia in 1957. After his studies he worked for Venini (1957-1961) as a glass designer. Among other things, he designed the “Polyhedral” chandelier for Venini.
Together with his wife Afra Bianchinn (born in 1937) they opened their own design office in Montebelluna, some 60 km (37.28 miles) from Venice.
Tobia Scarpa was commissioned, along with Pier Castiglioni, to design the first lamps for FLOS, including this lamp.
The couple designed for Gavina, B&B Italia, Cassina, Meritalia, Benneton, Fabbian, Veas, San Lorenzo, and many other companies. The most famous lamps they designed are the Nictea pendant lamp, the Biagio table lamp, the Nuvola pendant lamp, the Foglio wall lamp, the Butterlfy floor lamp, the Fantasma floor lamp, the Bilobo pendant lamp, the Nigritella pendant lamp, the Capalonga table lamp, to name the most important, all lamps designed for FLOS. The Papillona floor lamp designed in 1975 was one of the first designs that uses the new halogen technology.
Afra and Tobia Scarpa also worked in commercial architecture and interior design. Some of their best-known work was for Benetton. Their collaboration with clothing company began in 1964, with the design of the firm’s first factory. They are credited with several interiors for them including their prototype store in Italy.
Tobia has also been a lecturer at the School of Industrial Design in Venice (Istituto Europeo di Design).
Afra and Tobia Scarpa have won numerous awards for their designs and their projects are exhibited in museums worldwide.
FLOS was founded in 1960. The company was born as a small workshop in Merano, where new materials were experimented, and new stylistic and functional researches, when Dino Gavina and Cesare Cassina collaborated with an important importer of an innovative polymeric coating (Cocoon) produced in the United States: Arturo Eisenkeil. The Eisenkeil company is still located in Merano (or Meran), South-Tirol, Italy.
However, the first one who used this kind of material is George Nelson in 1947 for his Bubble pendant lamps. The technique was been developed for mothballing naval ships. George Nelson referred to these lamps as “one of those happy accidents which occur all too infrequently in the designer’s experience”.
Friedel Wauer who is credited by FLOS for devising the technology of spraying the material onto iron frames, was inspired by the “self-wrapping” of a silk worm, hence the naming “cocoon”. Wauer founded his own company: Cocoon-Leuchten International. More info about it over here on Vintageinfo.
The seventies were years of great creative and entrepreneurial ferment. The company rapidly grows and opens its first subsidiary in Germany. In 1974 FLOS acquires Arteluce, the company founded by Gino Sarfatti. As result, several models designed by Gino Sarfatti have been incorporated into the range of FLOS products.
In the 1980s a long and exclusive collaboration with Philippe Starck begins, which sheds light on a series of international successes also called cult objects such as the Ara and Miss Sissi table lamps. Numerous collaborations also take place with other well-known designers, including Antonio Citterio, Konstantin Grcic, Jasper Morrison and Marc Newson. Other designers that worked for Flos during the years: Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, Mario Bellini, Sergio Gandini, Patricia Urqoiola, Vincent van Duysen, Nendo, Piero Lissoni, Johanna Grawunder, Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby, Michael Anstassiades, Fabio Lombardo, Marc Sadler and many others.
Perry A. King & Santiago Miranda, Gianfranco Frattini, Bruno Gecchelin, Cini Boeri, Ezio Didone, Paolo Rizzatto, and many others designed for Arteluce after the takeover by FLOS.
In the nineties, FLOS decided to create its own spin-off called Light Contract, a division specialized in the production of professional products and lighting systems for large commercial spaces.
Nowadays FLOS is still one of the leading companies in its sector.