Design Icon: Flos Snoopy Lamp
An exquisite Italian design that doesn’t take itself too seriously, the Snoopy Table Lamp was brought to life by design maestros Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. We take a look at the smile-inducing story behind this iconic design.
How could a table lamp be inspired by a cartoon character? Although it seems a bit far-fetched, the answer is actually very simple. The Castiglioni brothers were famous for drawing inspiration from everyday objects around them (even cartoon characters) to create timeless designs with beautifully simple forms and perfect functionality.
The Castiglioni brothers
Coming from a family of great designers, the Castiglioni brothers were a creative force to be reckoned with. Sons of the prominent Milanese sculptor Giannino Castiglioni, this dynamic duo were part of a generation of Italian designers who lived to challenge convention.
Both trained as architects at the Politecnico di Milano, Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni had inquisitive personalities, looking to make the most beautiful objects in the simplest way. Inspired by useful and cheap items like rolling pins, children’s toys and parts from hardware stores, the brothers worked as one to create delightfully simple solutions to life’s problems.
Everything they designed had function at its heart. If a design didn’t do its job perfectly, it didn’t make the cut. Their genius is perfectly illustrated in the design of the Arco Floor Lamp. Requiring a heavy 65kg marble base to balance out the arching light source, how on earth could this be transported into people’s homes? The brothers incorporated a broom-sized hole into the marble block – an ingenious and incredibly simple solution which allows two men with a broom handle to easily lift and transport it. Forward-thinking at its best.
But this precise approach didn’t make them serious souls, the brothers were well known for their unrivalled sense of humour. Achille Castiglioni once famously said “I see around me a professional disease of taking everything too seriously. One of my secrets is to joke all the time!” It was with this almost childlike joy for design that the Snoopy Table Lamp was created.
Why is it called the Snoopy?
Originally designed in 1967, the Snoopy was famously inspired by the cartoon character of the same name. In the 1960s, the Peanuts characters were influencing popular culture with their illustrated adventures and it just so happens that Snoopy the cartoon dog had the perfect proportions to be translated into a table lamp.
With its unmistakable snout-shaped shade combined with a precisely angled marble base, it’s easy to spot Snoopy in the design of this unique lamp. Crafted in the finest Carrara marble, from the northernmost tip of the Tuscany, the Snoopy’s base references centuries of Italian design. White in colour with exquisite blue-grey veining, this kind of marble has been prized by sculptors such as Michelangelo for hundreds of years.
Featuring 3 cooling holes that resemble a bowling ball grip, multiple inspirations have come together in unlikely ways to create the stunning shade design. Originally crafted with a matte finish, (something which was re-released as a special edition for the design's 50th anniversary in 2017), the standard Snoopy now features a reflective enamel coating, available in either black or green. A thick crystal glass disk sits on the underside of the shade, gently diffusing the light which the internal bulb provides.
Always championing innovation, the Castiglioni brothers incorporated an electronic turn dimmer into the base of the original Snoopy Lamp, allowing the brightness of the light to be adjusted. With its 2003 re-release, the technology within the design was updated, in the spirit of innovation both Achille and Pier Giacomo championed. The Snoopy now houses an integral touch-sensitive dimmer function, lending some efficient 21st-century technology to the classic design.
Counting Patricia Urquiola and Apple’s former head of design, Jonny Ive amongst its fans – the Snoopy is an enduring design classic, sure to look good for years to come.
Want a Snoopy for your own home? Visit our product page to discover the full range of finishes available for this iconic table lamp. Have a question? To talk to one of the Nest team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 0114 243 3000 or send us a message on LiveChat.