Achille Castiglioni

*1918 †2002

The grand seigneur of light design

The well-known Italian industrial designer Achille Castiglioni was born in Milan, Italy, on 16 February 1918. In 2002, Castiglioni, who was a role model for many other designers, died.

Being an industrial designer, Castiglioni worked for a large number of well-known brands and designed furniture, household items and kitchenware. However, Castiglioni obtained special mention as a light designer for the Italian high-class manufacturer Flos. Castiglioni’s designs are distinguished by a sober style that is reduced to the essentials. When creating his designs he always works according to the motto that good design requires a careful observation.

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While observing street lights, for instance, he was inspired to design the world famous gooseneck lamp Arco by Flos. Castiglioni recognised that these lights in contrast to the then wide spread floor lamps were able to illuminate an area of several metres. These observations form the basis for the design of the Arco with its elegantly curved arc and the flexibly adjustable light.

He often worked together with his brothers when making new drafts and designs – the Arco, for instance, was created in collaboration with his brother Giacomo. This Arco was already designed in 1962 and is up to now still one of the most popular gooseneck lights.

As an icon of modern industrial design the Arco is now a part of the permanent exhibition of the famous Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Two other pieces by Castiglioni that were also included in the MoMA exhibition are the Toio floor lamp and the Parentesi pendant light which he both designed for Flos.

Furthermore, numerous works by Castiglioni were acknowledged with different awards, including the highly coveted Compasso d'Oro award which he won several times. In 2001, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Polytechnic University in Milan.

 
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