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.
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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