Tatou is one of Flos Lighting‘s most popular designs. It takes its name from the French word for ‘armadillo’. This is an animal with a structure made of plates of bone covered with a protective layer of horn. Much like the mammal is seen as tough, the lighting design is forged with an external strength. But there’s an emotional side to this product.
Initially a dome style light fixture, the first prototypes for Flos’ Tatou were suspension models. As development increased across varying sizes and situations, it didn’t take long for the designs to become a family.
The dome shape is a filter for the light source. It creates a harmonious play of light and shadow through the shade’s three-dimensional, perforated leather. Unique in its construction, the shadow plays as important a role as the light. The colour of the product adds decisively to the final lighting effect.
It’s a complicated production process. It started out as a process of reconstructing membranes to be conceived like Japanese armor. The design boasts a mighty strength and a gentle fragility. To forge the final product a series of metal buckles are cleverly united by tapes. Overlapping vertical bands are riveted together, and crystallized in three dimensional leather.
The design is mass produced using a three dimensional mould. The intricate nature of the design means that great care still has to be taken. Retaining artisan values can be a difficult thing to do. Despite this, everything about this product echoes with an air of virtuosity.