One of the few Italian internationally recognized masters of design
Achille Castiglioni (1918-2002) was born in Milan in 1918. He graduated in Architecture from the Polytechnic University of Milan in 1944. As early as 1940, he dedicated himself to testing industrial production, together with his brothers Livio and Pier Giacomo. Immediately after the war, he began to work closely with Pier Giacomo. Their interests included Town Planning, Architecture and Design (carrying out research on shapes, techniques and new materials, aimed at developing an integral design process), and they had varied and intensive professional activities, actively participating in international cultural life: congresses, conferences and round tables, with particular regard paid to Industrial Design. In 1956, he was one of the founders of the ADI (Association of Industrial Design).
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As early as 1940 he dedicated himself to testing industrial production with brothers Livio (1911-1979) and Pier Giacomo (1913-1968). After graduating in architecture in 1944, he began research into shapes, techniques and new materials, aimed at developing an integral design process. He was one of the founders of ADI in 1956. In 1969, he was authorized by the Ministry of Education to teach “Artistic Design for Industry” and was a professor at Turin´s Faculty of Architecture until 1980 and then professor of “Industrial Design ” in Milan until 1993. Since 1950 he has worked in the area of testing and research into outfittings and presentations for exhibitions (Triennale di Milano, Montecatini, Agip, Rai). MoMA in New York features 14 of his works. Other works can be found at:Victoria and Albert Museum (London), Kunstgewerbe Museum (Zurich), Staatliches Museum fur Angewandte Kunst (Munich), Museo del Design (Prato), Uneleckoprumyslove Prague Museum, Israel Museum (Jerusalem), The Denver Art Museum, Vitra Design Museum (Weil am Rhein), Angewandte Kunst Museum (Hamburg and Cologne).Info source: http://www.flos.com
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Which was the main features of Castiglioni’s style?
Castiglioni himself possessed a creative potency and flexibility that gave birth to an array of stylistically varied objects including the minimalist Parentesi Lamp, the “ready made” Taccia and the poetic Fucsia Hanging Lamp. One of his favorite design strategies was to place a familiar form in an unexpected context – a tractor seat atop a stool, an automobile headlight reflector as a table lamp.
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Which was the main characteristics of Castglioni’s works?
The main characteristics of all Castiglioni’s works were paradoxes: he loved them and was fascinated by the perception and wisdom they could engender. Everyday objects’ observation was often the starting point for his designs: “Design demands observation” was one of his mottoes. The ready-made ones as the Mezzadro -a stool composed of a mass-produced tractor seat, a bent steel bar, a wood bar, and a wing screw- and the Toio lamp, made from a car reflector, a transformer that also works as heavy base, a formed metal handle, a hexagonal stem, three fishing rod rings, and a single screw. The redesigned ones were, instead, already existing objects that he improved or modernized basing on present necessities and technological improvements. To this category belong the Cumano small outdoor coffee table (1979), the Spirale ashtray (1971), the Brera glass globe ceiling lamp (1992) or the Comodo bedside table (1989).
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What produced Achille Castiglioni?
During the 1950s and 1960s they produced a remarkable number of popular designs. Their “Spalter” vacuum cleaner (1956), manufactured by Rem, was made of bright red plastic and was meant to be slung across the user’s back with a leather strap, like a bag. Their lamps, the minimalist “Luminator” (1955) and “Bulb” (1957), employed exposed bulbs, while their “Arco” (1962) was a floor lamp with a long, curved arm extending eight feet from the marble base which had to be moved “by two people inserting a broomstick through the hole in the base.” Their “Snoopy” (1967) table lamp, indeed inspired by the cartoon character, also had a marble base, which stabilized the egg-shaped metal and glass shade. Their “Toio” (1962) lamp used a car reflector as its inspiration. Their lighting system for the Montecatini pavilion at the Milan Fair in 1962 featured cone shaped lights suspended from wires. The Castiglionis also designed the “RR126” stereo system (1965), which was meant to be a “musical pet,” and was considered to be one of his “Expressionistic Objects.”
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