Tall floor lamps that do balancing act
- The San Francisco Chronicle, 10/11/2009

Some floor lamps aren't for the faint of heart. I'm speaking, in particular, of the Castiglioni brothers' Arco floor lamp, a daredevil design whose 8-foot, stainless steel arch is supported by a substantial marble base.

Such acrobatics have made the Arco an icon. But new balancing acts have emerged in the years since its 1962 debut. Take, for example, the Twiggy Floor Lamp designed by Marc Sadler in 2006 for Foscarini, an Italian lighting company.

The lamp, which retails for $2,058, is sold by the Conran Shop (conranusa.com) in yellow and black and by Unica Home (unicahome.com) in the full, four-color range that includes white and red.

"Initially, I wanted to make something rather ridiculous," Sadler explained in a video for Foscarini posted on the Unica Home Web site. "A mannequin holding a fishing rod for a very large home, and on the end of this fishing rod, a lamp."

Despite its playful concept, Twiggy, like the Arco, is a serious feat of engineering: From its fiberglass base, the so-called rod reaches a height of 66.9 inches before bending forward under the weight of its large shade. Twiggy takes three 100-watt, E27 bulbs (to be purchased separately) and can be dimmed using a built-in switch.

For a less expensive alternative, consider the Bauhaus Arc Floor Lamp from CB2 for $199 (cb2.com). The company began selling the lamp in 2008 in white and a bold, glossy green. At 80 inches high, the Bauhaus Arc is taller than Twiggy, but materials - an aluminum shade and iron base - account for the difference in price.

Admit it: Precariousness really does spice up a space.

$2,058 Foscarini Twiggy Floor Lamp  

$199 CB2 Bauhaus Arc Floor Lamp