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.