The Arco Lamp, Eight Ways

The Arco, designed by the Castiglioni brothers in 1962, is a classic modernist floor lamp. Made of aluminum on a marble base, stripped of additional ornament, and designed to provide overhead lighting without hard wiring, the lamp is useful in lots of different contexts, from the living room to the bedroom.

  1. At the Hospes Lounge Bar in Madrid, two Arco lamps criss-crossed over the sofa create a sculptural archway and shed plenty of light for reading.
  2. In Roberta, Francesco, and Federico's home, an Arco light draws round patterns on the ceiling that play against the geometric angles of the living room lighting.
  3. Tim's dorm room is one of our favorite small spaces. That's not an original Arco lamp in the center of the room, but the knock-off allows Tim to add overhead attractive and affordable lighting in a standard-issue dorm.
  4. In T & T's apartment, an Arco lamp takes the place of a bedside reading light.
  5. Catrin & Chris's "New Traditional" home combines a modern Arco lamp with a traditional room. We love the effect of one steel piece in a room full of painted surfaces, wood, and textiles.
  6. Kathryn's loft has gorgeous high ceilings, and the Arco lamp is a nice complement to the space. Its large scale fits in, while the sweeping arc helps to define the living room arrangement.
  7. In Elise and Darren's home, the Arco lamp anchors an egg chair, forming a cozy reading nook in the corner by the fireplace.
  8. Steve's home uses the Arco lamp as an overhead light above a dining table. One of the lamp's major selling points is its ability to provide pendant-style lighting without hard-wiring the light into the ceiling.


The Arco Lamp continues to be manufactured by FLOS, and it's sold through modern design stores like Y Lighting, Design Within Reach, and Luminaire. It's expensive, costing around $2,700, but it's sometimes possible to find good deals on second-hand Arco lamps through craigslist and vintage stores. There are also a lot of knock-offs floating around for less.

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Quick History: The Arco Lamp

Photos: Hospes Madrid, Sarah Coffey, Tim / Small Cool 2007, Jill Slater, Darren Bradley, Janel Laban, Leah Moss, Steve

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