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Parentesi Suspen­sion

c. 1971

by Achille Castiglioni
for Flos

Parentesi was the result of a remark­able collab­o­ra­tion between Achille Castiglioni and Pio Manzu in 1969 and was produced by Flos begin­ning in 1971 shortly after Manzu’s untimely death. Parentesi means clamp” in Italian and its name refers to how this extra­or­di­nary design can func­tion both as floor and suspension lamp.

A steel cable running from ceiling to floor is threaded through a curved tubular steel bracket that contains a pivot­ing socket in its center. The cable is attached by hook from the secured ceiling mount and again by threaded hook attached to a dense rubber cylin­dri­cal base. Parentesi’s cable can be cut to fit virtu­ally any ceiling height as it is simply threaded into the hooks on each end and secured in place with a tensioned screw. The cable, having been clamped” within the tubular steel bracket, creates the neces­sary tension to slide the bracket along the cable and choose a resting spot. Parentesi’s pivot­ing socket allows you to direct the light from the reflector bulb.

Parentesi is a clever solu­tion for placing a light source in virtu­ally any loca­tion that has a wall outlet and where a very small foot­print is desired. Several together can be used to create a fabu­lous instal­la­tion with bulbs that seem­ingly float within an inte­rior. Parentesi is included in the perma­nent collec­tions of museums world­wide includ­ing the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The lamp was awarded Italy’s pres­ti­gious Compasso d’Oro in 1979.

Parentesi’s adjustable bracket is avail­able in a choice of gloss black or red enamel as well as nickel-plated finish.

Achille Castiglioni

Italy (1918–2002)

One of the preeminent voices in post-war Italian design, Achille Castiglioni worked closely with his brother, Pier Giacomo, to dream up products informed by their mutual sense of curiosity, humor, and wonder.

Their approach resulted in products that incorporated playful forms and references—such as their Mezzadro stool for Zanotta that was made with a tractor seat, or their Snoopy table lamp for Flos inspired by the famous cartoon character. The duo was committed to pushing the limits of industrial design, a goal they achieved through constant experimentation and a willingness to embrace unexpected methods of production. Achille and Pier Giacomo often incorporated utilitarian materials and readymade objects into their works, from the aforementioned tractor seat to fishing rods, car headlights, and more.

A longstanding relationship with FLOS led to the creation of many of the designers’ most famous works, such as the 1962 Arco lamp, a widely copied fixture that is considered to be one of the hallmarks of midcentury industrial design. Achille Castiglioni created nearly 150 objects in his lifetime, and many products are still in production today.

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