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Lamp In Vitro, design Philippe Starck 2020, Flos.

| Designbest editorial staff


rom one of the most well-known, historical Italian designer lighting companies—a brand which with its brilliant designers has given us some of the most unforgettable icons in lighting design over the years—comes a project that folds technological evolution into the magic of poetry.


  • What it is  In Vitro, the new family of lamps for the outdoors proposed by Flos.
  • What makes it special In Vitro comes from the idea of creating a glass protection for a light source as happened with the light bulb, even if this type of protection is no longer necessary with LED technology. As its designer explains, In Vitro (literally ‘under glass’) is “…the poetic and surrealistic idea of dematerialized architectural lighting and the memory of the space occupied by the light.”
  • How it is made  In Vitro is a collection of blown-glass lanterns that emit soft and diffuse light. Each lantern is made up of an aluminum protective shell with an elongated form and a cupola (elongated as well in borosilicate glass, a material particularly resistant to heat and temperature fluctuations, better known by its commercial name Pyrex). The interior of the cupola is completely empty, and the light that spreads in the glass derives from the opal diffuser placed at the upper end where the LEDs can be found. In Vitro is presented in bollard floor (in three different heights), pendant, ceiling and wall versions.
  • Whose idea it is  In Vitro is a project by Philippe Starck, the world famous, eclectic master of Parisian design. He says that he is subversive, ethical, ecological, political, humorous…and that he never wanted to be a designer, but feels more like an explorer. His long friendship with Flos began in 1991 with the Miss Sissi lamp, followed by one of the most celebrated pieces, the SuperArchimoon, the Gun lamp family and many others throughout the years.
  • We chose it because…  Once upon a time there were lanterns with their romantic candles indoors. Then Edison (to keep it simple, because the dispute over its true inventor is long) in 1879 invented the electric lightbulb. Farewell to romantic candles as bulbs and wires were inserted in the lanterns, but there were less fires and the lighting was better and lasted longer. The story of this technological evolution was repeated when (and here we had to look it up because it is not very well known) Nick Holonyak Jr., an American researcher and professor, invented LED bulbs in 1962. Slowly the old, expensive light bulbs started to disappear from our homes, energy consumption and waste disposal decreased, but a piece of romanticism was also lost. And now Philippe Starck intervenes by enclosing empty space inside the lantern, making it shine as if it were a magic lantern. 



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