Achille Castiglioni, a giant of Italian industrial design, was born in Milan in 1918 and graduated in architecture in 1944. From his early twenties he has dedicated himself to experimentation on industrial products together with his brothers Livio (1911-1979) and Pier Giacomo (1913-1968). After university graduation, he began a research activity on new forms, techniques and materials, striving for the realization of an integral design process. He held the Chair at the Faculty of Architecture in Turin until 1980 and then in Milan until 1993, as a professor of Industrial Design. Since 1950 he has carried out experiments and research in the creation of installations for exhibitions, such as the Triennale di Milano.
The permanent collection of MoMA in New York has 14 of his works, such as the iconic Toio and Arco floor lamps, the Snoopy table lamp, the Mezzadro seat and the Spirale ashtray. His work is also represented in 30 other museums around the world
His unique talent did no go unnoticed by industry. Some of the companies who licensed his designs are Alessi, Brionvega, B&B Italia, Danese, Driade, De Padova, Flos, Cassina, Moroso, Olivetti, Knoll, Kartell, Zanotta, among many others – reading like a directory of important design companies. Many of these products are still in production today, testimony that these designs were not just a success when they were originally launched, but are able to still connect with a contemporary audience.
Achille Castiglioni has been awarded the Compasso d’Oro, Italy’s highest award for industrial design, a record 9 times, starting in 1955 for his Luminator lamp and ending in 1989 for his professional life dedicated to design, for “having raised, through his irreplaceable experience, design to the highest levels of culture”. Other international prizes and awards are too numerous to list here. In 2001, he was awarded a doctorate Honoris Causa in Industrial Design by his alma matter, the Politecnico di Milano.
Starting in the 1980’s, Achille Castiglioni has been celebrated and studied through numerous solo exhibitions, at the Triennale di Milano, the Kunstgewerbemuseum Zurich, the Vitra Design Museum, the Living Design Center Oyone in Tokyo and at MoMA, to name but a few.
We at AMEICO are very honored to be representing his last design, the Cento3 writing instruments, now posthumously realized by EgoM of Bologna over 20 years since his passing, which was in 2002. Achille Castiglioni and his estate, the Fondazione Archille Castiglioni believe in democratic design, affordable by a larger segment of society. The Cento3 project, realized 103 years after Achille’s birth, is in line with that belief.