2018, Achille’s Year

100 years after the birth of Achille Castiglioni, Italy celebrates the work and the vision of one of its greatest designers with exhibitions and special events

  • 2018, Achille’s Year
  • 2018, Achille’s Year
  • 2018, Achille’s Year
  • 2018, Achille’s Year
  • 2018, Achille’s Year
  • 2018, Achille’s Year

Achille Castiglioni was born in Milan on February 16, 1918. Son of the sculptor Giannino Castiglioni and brother of Livio and Pier Giacomo, he was the pivot of one of the families that marked the aesthetics of the 20th century, picturing new shapes for everyday objects such as lamps, armchairs and tables, and turning them into functional works of art.
The Achille Castiglioni Foundation celebrates the centennial of Achille’s birth with a series of exhibitions and events spreading from Milan to the world, as did the work of this amazing designer whose objects are on display at the MoMa in New York and have been exhibited in all the major design institutions of the world over the course of his long career.
Until April 30, the Milanese headquarters of the Foundation will host the 100x100 exhibition, gathering 100 objects selected by as many designers from all over the world, each accompanied by a birthday wishes card: a little thought to celebrate Castiglioni's commitment to making the ordinary extraordinary, a sort of museum of the anonymous object whose design intelligence is only perceived by a careful eye.
From May 25 to December 21, the M.A.X. Museum di Chiasso will host an exhibition devoted to Castiglioni, and the celebrations will terminate at the Triennale Museum in Milan with a retrospective curated by Patricia Urquiola and Silvana Annicchiarico.
A designer and a professor of Industrial Design in Milan and Turin, with his work and his vision Achille Castiglioni contributed to redefining design: choosing an object, studying its shape until it is emptied and grasping its essence, using imagination and ingenuity to transfigure its image without losing its function or sacrificing its industrial reproducibility.
The Sanluca Armchair, designed in 1960 for Dino Gavina, visionary owner of Gavina SpA, is a clear example of this process: starting from an eighteenth-century round and soft armchair, Castiglioni turned it into a thin line that follows the back of a person and cleaves the air, a minimalistic version of the original and yet just as convenient and functional.
Toio, the famous lamp designed for Flos, is yet another example. The parts that make the object functional are all there: light, stem, supporting base. However, these functions are replaced one by one by other elements: the light is a car headlight, the wire a fishing line, the base a transformer. Castiglioni also designed the famous Arco by Flos (1962), the first overhead lamp without a ceiling suspension, a nodal point in the development of design applied to interior lighting.
Over the years, Castiglioni worked with the most important international design firms, including Cassina, Knoll, Kartell and Zanotta, just to name a few. Among the founders of ADI (the Industrial Design Association), he won 9 Compasso d'Oro awards, promoting quality in the field of industrial made-in-Italy designs.
In addition to designing an extraordinary sequence of iconic objects, Achille Castiglioni has left us a whole concept of design based on research, curiosity, and a touch of irony, which prompts designers to always start from scratch, preventing their experience from finding shortcuts.

Author : The Slowear Journal

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