Flos is an international company and brand synonymous with high quality and the ultimate expression of fine design, recognised the world over as a leading in the residential and architectural lighting sector. Established in Merano -northern Italy- in 1962 by Dino Gavina and Cesare Cassina, in 1964 the Gandini family took up the helm and transferred the company’s headquarters to the Brescia area. Right from the outset, Flos commissioned great masters of Italian design to work with the company, such as the Castiglioni brothers -Achille and Pier Giacomo- and Tobia Scarpa. One of the first experimental projects was cocoon, a plastic material made in the U.S. The aim was to create industrial archetypes and ground-breaking products, which soon went on to become design icons, like the Arco floor lamp.
In the late 1980s, the company began its exclusive collaboration with Philippe Starck, an emerging designer on the international scene, who introduced some revolutionary concepts for Italian design. Sergio Gandini’s son Piero was appointed CEO in 1996 and Chairman in 1999. He gave a strong impulse to internationalization and called on other great designers to work with him, including Antonio Citterio, Piero Lissoni, Jasper Morrison, Konstantin Grcic, Patricia Urquiola, Marcel Wanders, Ron Gilad, the Bouroullec brothers, Michael Anastassiades, Vincent Van Duysen, Nendo and Formafantasma.
The 1990s saw the development of the contract business area. In response to growing demand for specific solutions addressed to high profile custom lighting projects, the Light Contract division was established in 1996. Recently renamed Flos Bespoke, it represents a standout among the custom lighting companies at a global level.
In the 2000s, the architectural sector was given a strong boost by the acquisition of Antares, a Spanish company specialising in technical lighting. This union of a Spanish manufacturer of professional lighting equipment and an Italian manufacturer of designer lamps for the residential market resulted in the Flos Architectural division, which successfully combines advanced, cutting-edge lighting technologies and unique poetic quality of light.
In November 2014, the entry of the European private equity fund Investindustrial into the Flos’ capital marked the start of a further period of industrial development and international expansion for the company, through both organic growth and selective acquisitions. Flos Group acquired an additional interest of Antares (Flos Architectural), thus taking its share to 100%. In June 2015, Flos acquired Italian architectural outdoor lighting company Ares. The Flos Outdoor division thus became the Group’s fourth production unit, alongside the historical design, architectural and custom products sectors. In November of the same year Flos also acquired NYC-based Lukas Lighting, a company specializing in the design, development, and manufacturing of sophisticated custom lighting products. This move was aimed to give a strong boost to the Flos growth in the North American contract market.
In November 2018 Flos, together with B&B Italia, Louis Poulsen and Arclinea, joined The Design Holding, a project arisen from the partnership of investment firms Investindustrial and The Carlyle Group, representing the biggest global high-end interior design group with a European heritage. In June 2019, Roberta Silva was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Flos, to further strengthen the holding’s management teams and to contribute to the growth of the Group.
Flos is today the only company in the lighting field that is able to offer a complete range of fully integrated solutions. It exports to more than 90 countries worldwide and has single-brand stores in Rome, Milan, Paris, New York and Stockholm. The brand’s creations have received numerous international awards and many of them are now featured in the permanent collections of leading international art and design museums.
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