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Design Icon: Achille Castiglioni

With a special sensitivity towards functionality, form, and aesthetics, Achille Castiglioni is known to be one of the most influential architects and industrial designers of the 20th century. His desire for experimentation and innate intuition gave new life to everyday objects. Explore a collection of iconic seating and tables he designed for Tacchini and UpGroup.

Portrait of Achille Castiglioni.
Portrait of Achille Castiglioni.

​Italian architect and industrial designer, Achille Castiglioni had an extensive history and contribution to industrial design projects. Born in Milan in 1918, Achille was the third son of Giannino Castiglioni, a particularly famous sculptor in the 1920s. After completing his studies in architecture at the Politecnico di Milano in 1944, Achille joined his brothers, Livio and ​Pier Giacomo Castiglioni in their architecture and design studio: Studio Castiglioni.

Strongly influenced by the studio, he got involved in the research of new forms, techniques, and materials, aimed at realizing an integral design process. Achille’s multidisciplinary work extended from furniture to lighting, from chairs and tables to small objects like ashtrays and beer dispensers.

“Design shouldn’t be trendy. Good Design should last over time, until it wears out.”

Achille Castiglioni products are characterized by a mix of principles of functionality, simplicity, and wit combined with a curiosity about the way objects should be used. An outcome of real ingenuity, intelligent, technical expertise and aesthetic sensibility, his products were deeply rooted in a strong practical purpose.

Achille Castiglioni did not believe in the isolation of an artist. He said, “When designing objects, a good project comes not from the ambition to leave a mark, but from the desire to establish an exchange, with the unknown character who will use the object that you have designed. And then, again, at the time of its realization, a design object, is the result of the combined effort of many people with specific skills: technical, industrial, commercial and aesthetic. A designer's work is the expressive synthesis of this collective work."

His expansive body of work led him to become the founding member of 'Association for Industrial Design' in the mid-1950s, an initiative to promote, enhance and defend in Italian and international designs. During his 64 years long career, Achille received several awards, such as a bronze medal by La Triennale, followed by eight Compasso d’Oro (1955-1979), two Silver Medals, two Gold Medals, and two Triennale Grand Prix.

Thanks to his determination of understanding users, Achille Castiglioni's designs continue to have real purpose and utility at present.

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