The Taccia lamp, an ingenious creation of Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni in 1959, is a shining example of innovation, functionality, and aesthetic appeal. This table lamp, a masterstroke in design and production by Flos in 1962, captivates with its technical brilliance and historical relevance.
Innovation in Lamp Design: Addressing Overheating
A distinctive and innovative feature of the Taccia lamp is its thoughtful design that addresses component overheating with precision. The lamp’s perforated chrome metal cylinder base accommodates the light source. An anti-heat lacquered ring, designed with a contoured surface, surrounds the base. It creates an interstice that promotes efficient air circulation and facilitates optimal cooling. Drawing inspiration from the world of automotive engines, the finned ring serves a dual purpose: preventing any light leakage from the base while providing an additional layer of protection against potential hot cylinder contact. Moreover, this design element enhances the overall grip and handling of the lamp, ensuring a comfortable user experience.
Independent Reflector and Base: A Unique Arrangement
The reflector and base of the Taccia lamp are entirely independent. The reflector, a concave glass bowl closed by a lacquered metal plate, rests on the base cylinder containing the bulb, allowing it to tilt freely (base shaped for cooling). In a 1970 interview, Achille Castiglioni commented: “They consider it the Mercedes of lamps, the symbol of the successful; perhaps because it has that base that looks like a column. We made it this way not certainly thinking about prestige, but to create a cooling surface.”
Similarly, the reflector, a convex disk of white lacquered aluminum, is supported by the diffuser, an inverted transparent glass bell. This arrangement makes it easily adjustable and can focus the light on the desired table area. In “Casabella” in 1997, Achille Castiglioni explained: “With Taccia, I designed a table reflector lamp that did not resort to complicated mechanical devices: the glass hemisphere rests, in an absolutely free and easy-to-move way, on the finned cylindrical base.”
A Fascinating Journey: The Taccia Lamp from Inception to Completion
In an enlightening discourse, Achille Castiglioni shared the intriguing history behind the creation of the Taccia lamp. He expressed amusement that some would mistake the Taccia for a post-modern artifact, given that it was designed in 1962 without any intention of being labeled as such. From their perspective, deeply rooted in the rationalism of Northern Italy’s architectural school, with influences from the likes of Rogers, Terragni, and others, there was no conscious effort to follow such a modernist design philosophy.
Interestingly, during the prototype stage, they discovered that the Taccia lamp’s initial design concept needed some fixings. The original idea was to use transparent plastic to create the transparent bowl that carries the reflector and indirect light. However, when the plastic heated up, it flattened out, completely altering the intended design. Recognizing this, they switched to using glass instead.
The base of the Taccia, reminiscent of a Doric column, was more than just a design choice. Castiglioni explained how it functions as a cooling element, similar to the fins of a moped engine, for the intense heat generated at the lamp’s base. The increased surface volume helps to effectively dissipate the heat, ensuring the lamp’s longevity and safety. Thus, this account from Achille Castiglioni offers a captivating glimpse into the intricate thought process behind the Taccia lamp’s design.
From Conceptualization to Production: Taccia Lamp’s Journey
This indirect light table lamp, conceived in 1958 and finalized in 1959, was showcased at the Institute of Design in Illinois and the Institute of Technology in Chicago in March of the same year. Interested in mass production, FLOS completed the definitive prototype studies between 1960 and 1961, launching sales in 1962.
Flos Taccia: A Legacy of Iconic Lamps
The Flos’ collaboration with Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni extended to other iconic projects such as the Arco lamp, the Snoopy lamp, and the Toio lamp. Flos also partnered with renowned designers like Afra and Tobia Scarpa, and Mario Bellini.
In conclusion, the Taccia lamp stands as a remarkable testament to the unparalleled genius and creative vision of Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. With its ingenious design and exceptional technical prowess, this iconic lighting fixture transcends time, captivating and illuminating spaces with its unrivaled charm that has endured through the years. From its elegant form and meticulous craftsmanship to its harmonious blend of innovative materials, the Taccia lamp encapsulates a timeless allure that continues to captivate admirers and elevate the ambiance of any environment it graces. Whether enhancing the atmosphere of a contemporary living room or adding a touch of sophistication to a stylish office space, the Taccia lamp remains an iconic masterpiece that effortlessly combines form and function, transcending mere illumination to become a true work of art.