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100 years of Achille Castiglioni

Achille Castiglioni was born in Milan on 16 February 1918, exactly 100 years ago.

A visionary architect and designer, together with his brothers Livio and Pier Giacomo, he was able to give a “new face” to industrial design, creating pieces that not only made history but have become true icons.

Portrait of Achille Castiglioni with his Diabolo lamp. Photo by H. Findletar.

Achille Castiglioni’s ability to find “simple” solutions to everyday problems, to look at the world in a creative way and to reinterpret suggestions from nature as well as common objects, are the characteristics that have made him a master.

The Arco lamp by Flos, designed to be easily repositioned by lifting it up with a stick inserted in the hole of its marble base, the Mezzadro stool by Zanotta, inspired by the seat of tractors, are just two examples of his skills and thoughts free from any superstructure.

Arco lamp, produced by Flos since 1962.

Cubo armchair, produced by Meritalia from 1957 to 2013.

Mezzadro stool, produced by Zanotta since 1957.

Sanluca armchair, produced by Poltrona Frau since 1961.

Inside what was his studio – four rooms on the ground floor of a stately building on 27 Piazza Castello in Milan – is now the Achille Castiglioni Foundation. This is a space open to the public, in which Achille’s sons – Giovanna and Carlo – preserve their father’s archive, carry out research and resume projects that have never been realized, presenting them to the general public. This is what happened in 2013 when Meritalia added the Cubo armchair to its catalogue, a seat with a sculptural appearance but a soft soul. “When a material is soft, you can give it a rigid shape”, Achille used to say!

Interiors of the Castiglioni Fondation in Milan.

On the occasion of the centenary of his birth, many are the events scheduled to celebrate Achille Castiglioni. From 25 May to 18 December, at the Achille Castiglioni Foundation you can admire Dimensione Domestica – Atto III, the reconstruction of a dining room for an exhibition held in Tokyo in 1984. Two major retrospectives will open in September at the Milan Triennale and at m.a.x. in Chiasso.

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