Guglielmo Poletti harnesses mechanical tension for Flos’ ‘To-Tie’ lamps
To-Tie anodized black lamp in small size
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Flos
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Guglielmo Poletti harnesses mechanical tension for Flos’ ‘To-Tie’ lamps

The To-Tie lamps, made out of an aluminium bar, borosilicate glass, and fabric cable, are easy to assemble and disassemble. 

by Almas Sadique
Published on : Nov 25, 2022

Mechanical widgets are seldom used as the primary tool that supports an appliance. One often surmises that their mechanisms may not be sturdy enough to keep objects stable. Hence, makers contain and control their designs with screws and welds. Italian designer Guglielmo Poletti, however, designed a collection of table lamps that stand sturdy on account of the mechanical tension between the fabric cable, the aluminium bar, and the glass cover that makes up each of his To-Tie lamps. Designed for Italian brand Flos, the To-Tie collection comprises lamp designs of three different sizes. “To-Tie is a collection of table lamps with a distinctive feature summed up in the name, which refers to the English verb to tie, to fasten. The construction of the lamp was born by putting together three simple elements: cable, bar and cylinder. The core of the project lies in the tensioning system, which outlines both the formal and functional qualities of the lamp, entwining them in a mutual bond,” Poletti explains.

The large sized To-Tie anodized black lamp
The large sized To-Tie anodized black lampImage: Courtesy of Flos

The designer, who bases his timeless creations on meticulous research done on the mechanical properties of materials and the limits they can be stretched to, makes for an easy fit against Flos’s spirit, identity and vision of illuminating spaces with experiential designs. Although Poletti’s works are imbued with a characteristic sharpness, his latest lamp design suits the Flos style well. “My objects originate from the art of making. I always start from physical studies, using materials to trigger intuition, rather than filtering ideas through a rationally driven design process. This translates into a constant search for single constructive gestures, around which the work develops,” the Italian product designer asserts.

The tall version of the To-Tie anodized aluminium grey lamp
The tall version of the To-Tie anodized aluminium grey lampImage: Courtesy of Flos
The large sized To-Tie anodized aluminium grey lamp
The large sized To-Tie anodized aluminium grey lampImage: Courtesy of Flos

To-Tie perfectly embodies the spirit of the lamps designed for Flos by the Castiglioni brothers, and thus, serves as an easy and primed derivative to their designs. “To-Tie stems from a long-lasting personal research on the theme of structural tension, which, thanks to the inspiring collaboration with Flos and to the company's unique know-how, has been successfully translated for the first time into industrial lighting,” the designer says.

Detailed view of the large sized To-Tie anodized aluminium grey lamp
Detailed view of the large sized To-Tie anodized aluminium grey lampImage: Courtesy of Flos

The lamp, designed with basic elements in materiality and form, is held together solely by mechanical tension, with no screws, glues, or welds. To-Tie's design enables each of its parts to carry out a number of tasks. While the anodised aluminium bar serves as both the source of light and a handle to lift the lamp, the fabric electrical cable powers the bar and holds it sturdy in tandem with the outer glass covering. The transparent borosilicate glass cylinder ensures that this geometric mechanical design is visible to the viewer.

The To-Tie lamps, placed on a table
The To-Tie lamps, placed on a tableImage: Bea De Giacomo
Guglielmo Poletti at work in his studio
Guglielmo Poletti at work in his studioImage: Bea De Giacomo

To-Tie is an innovation that improves design transparency. Despite having an ostensibly straightforward design, it reveals its true nature. It is straightforward and comprehensible and does not require interpretations. Its aesthetics are the result of a precise constructive logic with limited opportunity for modulating or transforming its configuration.

Each component of To-Tie is meticulously crafted, with due consideration for the properties of the individual materials and a high degree of precision to define the lamp's functionality. To-Tie stands out with the attention to detail levied on each component. While its borosilicate glass is finished by hand throughout the perimeter of its edge, the sleek fabric cable is knotted securely, ensuring functionality and a pleasant, uncluttered aesthetic. The aluminium bar, on the other hand, has a unique knurling that is also carried over into the customised switch command.

Installation view of the To-Tie lamps
Installation view of the To-Tie lampsImage: Gianluca Bellomo
Guglielmo Poletti with the To-Tie lamps
Guglielmo Poletti with the To-Tie lampsImage: Sara Fileti

The collection consists of three lamps, distinct in their size and proportion, each of which may be used in a different setting. The smallest lamp can be used as a bedside lamp, the tallest one is ideal for perching atop a console, and the largest one can be set up on a low table in the living room. Even when the lamps are switched off, the structure's unusual design ensures that its autonomous identity makes a mark in the space it occupies.

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