Achille Castiglioni was born in Milan on February 16th 1918, in 1944 he graduated in Architecture from Politecnico of Milan.
Since 1940, he has been experimenting industrial products with his brothers Livio (1911-1979) and Pier Giacomo (1913-1968).
After the graduation, he started to looking into forms, techniques and new materials, conceiving a complete design process.
From 1945 to 1962, he leaded the studio’s activities with his brother Pier Giacomo in a studio in Milan at Corso di Porta Nuova 57, the building was knocked down in 1962, so they transferred the studio in P.zza Castello 27, where he collaborated with Pier Giacomo until he died in 1968. From 1968 to 2002, when Achille died, he has been leading the studio by himself.
He achieved in 1969 the teaching qualification on “Artistic Design for Industry” from the Ministero della Pubblica Istruzione (Ministry of Public Education) and he taught at Turin Architecture University until 1980. Afterwards he acquired the teaching post in Politecnico of Milan until 1993 as fulltime “Industrial Design” professor.
Since 1950 he kept experimenting about exhibitions and mountings (Triennale di Milano, Montecatini, Agip, Rai).
He became one of the ADI founders in 1956.
The New York MoMA owns fourteen pieces of him.
Museums that own other pieces of him: Victoria and Albert Musum, London; Kunstgewerbe Museum, Zurich; Staatliches Museum fur Angewandte Kunst, Monaco; Museo del Design, Prato; Umeleckoprumyslove Museo, Prague; Israel Museum di Gerusalemme; The Denver Art Museum; Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein; Agewandte Kunst Museum, Hamburg and Colonia.
He was awarded nine Compasso D’Oro:
– Compasso d’Oro 1955 (Luminator lamp)
– Compasso d’Oro 1960 (T 12 Palini chair)
– Compasso d’Oro 1962 (Pitagora coffee machine)
– Compasso d’Oro 1964 (Spinamatic beer spinner)
– Compasso d’Oro 1967 (headphones for simultaneous translation)
– Compasso d’Oro 1979 (Parentesi lamp)
– Compasso d’Oro 1979 (Omsa hospital bed / gurney)
– Compasso d’Oro 1984 (Dry cutlery set)
– Compasso d’Oro 1989 special mention for design professions: “Because he elevated Design, through his irreplaceable experience, to the highest cultural values”
From 1984 to 1986, Museum fur Angewandte Kunst of Vienna, the Akademie der Kunst of Berlin, the Triennale of Milan, the Kunstgewerbe Museum of Zurich, the Haags Gemeentemuseum of Aia, Circulo de Bellas Artes of Madrid, Centre Georges Pompidou of Paris organized a personal exhibition about his work.
In 1985 he became an Honorary Member of the “Pasadena Art Center College of Design” in California and Montreaux in Switzerland.
In 1986, he became an Honorary Member of the “Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry”, London Royal Society of Art.
In 1987, he received the Laurea Honoris Causa of the London Royal College of Art.
In 1993, he received the “London Chartered Society of Design” annual award.
In 1994, he received the “Primavera del Design” from the Cultural Institute of Cataluña.
In 1995, he received the “Art sur Table” award from the Conseil National des Art Culinaire of Paris.
In 1996, he received the “IF Design” Wettbewerb from the Hannover Industrie Forum Design.
In 1996, he received the “Longevity-Lanlebigkeit” award from Stoccarda Design Center.
In 1999, he received the “Domus/INARCH 1998” professional award from INARCH.
In 1999, he received the “Targa d’Oro Unione Italiana per il Disegno” from the Geneva University of Architecture.
In 1999, he won the “Sostegni per l’Ambiente” competition with the architect Michele de Lucchi.
In 2001, he received the Laurea Honoris Causa in Industrial Design from the Politecnico di Milano.
In 1995, the exhibition “A la Castiglioni” was organized in Barcelona for “Primavera del Design” award.
In 1997 his work has been exposed at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan on April and in the Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Bergamo on July.
In 1997 his work has been exposed at the Weil am Rhein at Vitra Design Museum on January and at the New York MoMa Museum of Modern Art (October).
In 1998 his work was exposed at the Tokyo Living Design Center Ozone (March), Niitsu Art Museum (June) and De Beyerd di Breda Museum on October.
He designed and collaborated for many great companies, such as:
Aerotecnica Italiana, Alessi, Brionvega, Bernini B&B Italia, BBB Bonacina, Cimbali, Danese, Driade, De Padova, Flos, Fusital, Cassina, Ideal Standard, Italtel, Il Coccio Umidificatori, Interflex, Lancia Auto, Marcatrè, Moroso, Olivetti, Omsa, Phonola Radio, Poggi, Phoebus Alter, Perani Fonderie, Rem, San Giorgio elettrod., Teorema, Knoll International, Kartell, Up & Up, VLM, Zanotta.
He performed a huge professional activity in Architecture and Urbanism, being internationally recognized for his industrial production projects in light design and furnishing, so as the spectacular mountings and interiors realized all over the world.
Achille Castiglioni died in Milan, December 2nd 2002.
P.S. You can find the complete list of the projects he realized, by himself or in collaboration, clicking the link project and summary.
“Experience does not bring certainty or security, but rather increases the possibility of error. I would say it is better to start from scratch each time, with humility, because experience is not likely to turn into silyness”Achille Castiglioni