Vintage Furnishings

Achille Castiglioni


Achille Castiglioni was an Italian designer known for his minimalist approach and creative use of materials in producing functional yet elegant objects. Born in Milan in 1918, Castiglioni studied architecture at the Politecnico di Milano before starting a career in industrial design. He worked alongside his brothers Livio and Pier Giacomo for over 30 years and established a reputation for developing objects that were simple, yet ingenious, usually incorporating everyday materials.

Castiglioni’s design philosophy centered around the idea that a designer’s task was to extract the maximum from the minimum: to create products that were relevant, efficient, practical, and affordable. His secret was to focus on the user needs and seek out hidden functionalities in materials and technologies.

One of his most notable designs is the Arco Lamp, created in 1962. Castiglioni used a broom handle to support a large, curved metal shade, resulting in a lamp that provided ample light without taking up floor space. The overall effect is a modern and chic design that is both functional and visually appealing.

Castiglioni was also responsible for the Sella stool, which he designed in 1957. The stool’s seat is made of a bicycle seat atop a steel column with rubber feet, giving it the appearance of a minimalist object while still providing a utilitarian function. Another minimalist design of his is the Mezzadro stool, which combines a tractor seat with a simple metal frame. The stool demonstrates Castiglioni’s ability to create a useful and aesthetically attractive piece from everyday materials.

Another one of Castiglioni’s designs is the Lampadina, created in 1972. It is an adjustable lamp that can be adjusted to the desired height by simply pulling it up to the desired position. The base of the lamp is made of black resin, while the bulb is fully exposed to create a modern minimalist look. The Lampadina is a perfect example of Castiglioni’s ability to extract the maximum from a minimum.

Castiglioni’s Toio lamp, created in 1962, is yet another example of his talent for creating minimalist designs that are still functional and elegant. Toio is a floor lamp constructed from a car headlight and a bicycle reflector. The addition of a transformer underneath the lamp creates an adjustable light source, which introduced a new and innovative concept at the time.

Finally, Castiglioni’s Taccia lamp, created in 1958, is a modern classic. It features an enormous glass dome that is designed to create an indirect light source that can fill a large space. Castiglioni designed the lamp in response to a request from an American hotel chain for a lamp that could provide light in large halls and conference rooms. The final design demonstrates Castiglioni’s ability to build simple yet effective objects, which are functional and practical, yet capable of transforming space through light.

In conclusion, Achille had a passion for creating objects that were functional, minimalist, and beautiful, which has cemented his place in the history of industrial design. He received numerous awards, including nine Compasso d’Oro awards, the most important prize in Italy for design. Castiglioni’s designs are now recognized around the world as objects of great beauty, as well as functionality, and his works continue to inspire designers and design enthusiasts today.