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Flos Glo-Ball

Designers and manufacturers bemoan the profusion of cheaply made copycats, but it’s been proven time and again that truly great design can never be obscured by poor imitation. For evidence, look no further than the Italian lighting company Flos, which debuted Achille Castiglioni’s Arco in 1962 and watched it become the most-copied and best-selling lamp in the company’s history. Thirty-six years and many iconic products later, Flos produced another sensation—Jasper Morrison’s glass-and-steel Glo-Ball—which overtook the Arco as the best-selling series of lamps in the Flos catalog. Dwell recently visited the Glo-Ball manufacturing facility, which was, it must be said, inimitable.
The Glo-Ball owes its diffusion to a simple sandwich: white glass between two clear layers. Here is the suspended version of the popular lamp.

  • flos glo ball hot glass copy

    Flos Glo-Ball: Molten Dust

    Piombino Dese, a drab industrial town between Venice and Verona, has many small glass companies, including Vetrerie New Glass, founded by Franco Pellizzon in 1991 and one of several Glo-Ball suppliers. Pellizzon trained as a glassblower but saw no future for himself in the craft; he wanted to industrialize the process.

  • flos glo ball turn

    Flos Glo-Ball: Blow Mold

    When the blob has reached a diameter of about six inches, it has already been handled by two or three blowers, who multitask like chefs.

  • Flos Glo-Ball: Cool and Cut

    Vetrerie New Glass can make 18 Glo-Balls per hour—Pellizzon keeps the operation tight in order to guarantee exceptional quality. The balls sit in a slow-cooling kiln for two hours; otherwise, they crack. With a fine abrasive cutting wheel, a young man slices off the parts that cling to the pole during the blowing process. A series of sanders and buffers make the aperture perfectly round and smooth: A flattener removes coarseness outside the cut, and a pointed sander that resembles a witch’s hat rubs out the circular opening.

  • flos glo ball fixture

    Flos Glo-Ball: Put Together

    West of Piombino Dese, in Bovezzo, the well-tended Glo-Balls meet the other parts of the lamp: laminated tubular steel stands, bases, and electronic components sourced in Milan. is your online home in the modern world. Join us as we follow our team around the globe on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Want more? Never miss another word of Dwell with our free iTunes app.