From one millennium to the next
Under Piero Gandini’s management, Flos focused on the harmony between iconic forms, artisan craftsmanship and mass-production technology. However, the crucial step towards change came with the realization that contemporary objects can be a form of expression, with as many stylistic interpretations as there are languages in the world.
And so, Piero Gandini called upon the most promising talents in international design: from the “futuristic” style of Australian Marc Newson (with his Helice Lamp in 1993), to the English prophet of minimalist design Jasper Morrison, to Konstantin Grcic, the most refined and eclectic German designer.
International talents also joined the communications team with the arrival of advertising superstar Bruno Le Moult and famous photographer Jean Baptiste Mondino who created unusual and captivating images of products old and new alike. As Flos entered the new millennium with the passing of the great founder Sergio Gandini, they had already established themselves as an industry well-equipped to face the challenges of globalization.
Avant-garde and the contemporary
For Piero Gandini, developing a new Flos identity meant having the courage to make radical choices. Tackling the onslaught of LEDs in the realm of lighting was to be the first step in a second revolution of production which he started in the early 2000s with the acquisition of Federic Martinez’s firm Antares.
This led to the creation of Flos Architectural Lighting – dedicated to professional lighting for large-surface areas and public spaces. Piero discovered new designers and put them to work creating lighting architecture using the most advanced technologies. These very same technologies were used to create works of art such as ‘Ohhh!!!’ and ‘Ahhh!!!’ sculpture lamps in Baccarat Crystal by Starck, enlivened with some ‘Truisms’ by American Jenny Holzer (the critical statements against consumerism values – a contradiction as they were engraved on luxurious, desirable objects).
And so began, with this combination of art and technology, production that would go beyond the usual conventions – for an adventurous journey with no turning back.
A Lighting Manifesto
“Today, like never before, we must find the synthesis of emotions, technology, poetry, needs, messages, aesthetic and political values. It is not just changing the technique but the society itself and our behaviors, both public and private. We must push beyond our capabilities and imagination to improve people’s lives… with the same poetry as the light in the ancient flame of a campfire under the stars.” As Piero Gandini declares.
If the future is now, what will artificial lighting of tomorrow be?
In the Flos vision, there are and always will be totally new types of lighting. New ones that have to be studied, developed and produced with a radical, groundbreaking attitude, and still balancing it with the cultural rigor on which Flos was founded.
All lighting environments must be designed like this, starting from the house, with the Home Division. The 2017 collection is a prime example, where the architects, designers and design-artists have been creating the icons of tomorrow, producing lighting fixtures as sculptures, balancing acts of form, playing games.
The Flos Architectural line encompasses a wider, environmental vision to include the workplace, entertainment and even the non-places of mass consumption. Flos Outdoor focuses on natural spaces like gardens, parks and landscapes. As Philippe Starck says: “There is no difference between artificial and natural light. It’s just a matter of transmission – ions and photons remain the same.”