Flos was founded in 1962 in Merano, with the intention of developing new lighting concepts. The company enlisted Achille Castiglioni, Pier Giacomo Castiglioni and Tobia Scarpa. One of the first materials the team experimented with was a cocoon, a pliable material made in the USA. In 1964 Sergio Gandini joined the company, and the headquarters were moved to a new site near Brescia.
The first Flos retail store, designed by the Castiglioni brothers (Achille and Pier Giacomo), opened in Milan in 1968. Pino Tovaglia designed the logo, and Max Huber the catalogues. The collaboration with Achille Castiglioni continued through the '80s, and in 1992 Flos introduced the "family of products" concept to the market with the Brera series. At the same time, Flos continued to scout for emerging talent on an international level. In 1988 the company began a collaboration with Philippe Starck. Other talented designers followed thereafter: Jasper Morrison, Konstantin Grcic, Marc Newson, Antonio Citterio, Marcello Ziliani, Marcel Wanders, Sebastian Wrong, Laurene Leon Boym, Piero Lissoni, Rodolfo Dordoni, Tim Derhaag, Johanna Grawunder, Joris Laarman, Knud Holscher, Barber & Osgerby, Patricia Urquiola, Paul Cocksedge and Ron Gilad. The tradition of collaborating with highly-talented professionals also extends to Flos’ promotional activities. Its image and advertising campaigns are entrusted to photographers the likes of Jean-Baptiste Mondino.
In 2005 Flos firmly established its presence in the architectural sector by acquiring the majority share of Antares, a Spanish company specializing in lighting devices. The partnership between a Spanish manufacturer of mass-retail products and an Italian producer of high-class interior design lamps led to the creation of Flos Architectural Lighting, which combines cutting-edge engineering with suggestive lighting design.
In 2007 Flos inaugurated its first professional space in Milan, on Corso Monforte, designed by Jasper Morrison. The two-level office and showroom spaces occupy 574 square meters. The architecture of the building is characterized by extremely clean lines. On the first floor, grey Diamond stone pavers run along both sides of a suggestive cloister to perfectly highlight its original arcade; a series of large vertical-rising windows in the reception, showroom and meeting room open onto the adjacent cloister. The basement level houses a relaxation room, and the "electronic heart" of the operation, where one can experiment with all the different types of mood-setting lighting.