Achille Castiglioni

Achille Castiglioni is one of the foremost designers of the twentieth century whose work is characterised by both wit and rigour.

Castiglioni was born in Milan into a creative family; his father was a sculptor and his two elder brothers were to become architects. He studied classics but then switched to the arts, eventually enrolling to study architecture at the Politecnica di Milano. On graduating he joined the practice set up by his brothers Livio and Pier Giacomo (Livio was to leave the partnership in 1952) and from the 1950s onwards produced a remarkable number of products that helped to define modern Italian design. 

Castiglioni described his design process as follows: "Start from scratch. Stick to common sense. Know your goals and means." This simple design philosophy was to generate designs ranging from their iconic tractor seat stool and a vacuum cleaner designed to be worn slung across the back while in use, to the supremely elegant Arco floor lamp and Snoopy table light. 

Alongside his design work, Castiglioni taught at the Politecnica di Milano and exhibited designs at every Milan Triennial from 1947 to the end of the century, receiving seven gold Compasso d'Oro awards. His work is held in collections of twentieth-century design worldwide. 

See also A Castiglioni + P G Castiglioni and A Castiglioni + P Manzu.

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