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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.
During blow-molding, an indentation is made in the neck of the Glo-Ball; when a technician taps the rod with a hammer, this indentation becomes an instant fissure in the fragile glass and the globe is separated. To prevent cracking in the glass, the balls are left in this slow-cooling kiln for two hours.

Quality control is overseen by several women—the only female employees in the factory. They place the globes over a fluorescent bulb mounted on a rotating plywood sheet and check for nicks and discolorations. Vetrerie New Glass then transfers the globes to a local etcher, who dunks them into a corrosive hydrofluoric-acid solution that removes the shine and makes the outer surface matte—crucial for diffusion and durability.

  • <h2><a href="http://www.dwell.com/articles/glo-ball.html">Glo-Ball</a></h2><p></p>We head into a northern Italian factory to track lighting luminary Flos's production of Jasper Morrison's best-selling series of Glo-Ball orbs.<p></p><p></p>Featured in the

    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.

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