100 Years of Achille Castiglioni

One of the masters of Italian Design relives through his legendary creations

by Rossana Vinci


In the year of the centenary of the birth of one of most influential ambassador for Made in Italy creativity Achille Castiglioni (February 16, 1918) we decided to celebrate by talking about his creations and his timeless ideas, the effect of an exceptional personality.


After earning a degree in Architecture in 1944, Castiglioni soon focused on developing an integral design process based on the interactive potential of three key factors: shape, technique and material.

From the moment he set up his studio in Milan in 1944, with his brother Pier Giacomo, he set about taking ordinary things and translating them into delightful solutions for everyday life: he turned a tractor seat into a little stool Mezzadro(Zanotta) and made a hole through the 65kg marble base of his now famous Arco (Flos) light, so it could be carried by two men with a rolling pin or a broom handle.


Catiglioni's personal Studio in Milan



“Objects must keep company” said Castiglioni, and this makes us well under-stand his idea of design. Good design, in addition to being functional and aesthetically appealing, must be easy to use, comfortable. This means that objects acquire a familiarity, one more reason to love them.


Achille Castiglioni was awarded 9 Compasso d'Oro ADI, and is the author of some unforgettable projects listed below:




PARENTESI - Flos (1971)


Borne out of a collaboration between Achille Castiglioni and Pio Manzù, the Parentesi was named for the parenthesis symbol—a visual reference to the nickel-plated shaped tube that lives on a floor-to-ceiling steel cable.

The steel cable can reach up to 157", and the tube allows the lamp head to move vertically along the cable to achieve a customized height. The head fixture is injection-molded black elastomer, equipped with a switch.




  - JOY - Zanotta (1989)


The bookcase was designed as a freestanding mobile. Symbol of the creator's great creativity, the library can take several forms thanks to the central element that acts as the pivot of the composition.




RADIOFONOGRAFO - Brionvega (1965)


Exuding retro charm, along with incredible sonic definition and the ability to orient and move the sound modules to best suit the surrounding environment, this system creates a listening experience both stimulating and intriguing.
Today, the Radiofonografo rr226-O is re-born: with only the radio and turntable like the original of the 1965. A deserved tribute to one of the most iconic and desired objects of Italian industrial design.
With its unique style and sound, this wonderful product is desired by collectors, musicians and famous artists all over the world, to be part of their personal and private collections.


ARCO - Flos (1962)


This lamp is ready for its close-up: Featured in Hollywood classics including Diamonds are Forever and The Italian Job, the Arco is a design icon that has been in constant production since its debut in 1962. The famed Castiglioni brothers spared no detail when they created it, from the beveled corners of its genuine Carrera marble base (designed not to hurt should you brush against them) to the strategic hole that allows for easy lifting of the base.




MEZZADRO - Zanotta (1957)


With its refined design the Stool Mezzadro by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni for Zanotta is guaranteed to attract everyone's attention. Atop the curved base of the stool is an inviting seat made of painted steel and which corresponds to an original Fiat tractor stool, a tractor stool still produced today.





- LAPIS VASE - CEDIT Ceramiche d'Italia (1968)


In occasion of the centenary of the birth of one the most significant architect and designer of the last century, CEDIT - Ceramiche d'Italia gives a new life to one of the most iconic piece of Castiglioni, the iconic Lapis ceramic vase, designed in 1968. An unique piece of ingenious design, originally in three sizes and a variety of colours, a real hymn to the superlative creative talent of Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni.




 - TACCIA - Flos (1962)


Designed by the famed duo Castiglioni, the Taccia has a concave spun-aluminum reflector with a matte white finish. Its light can be adjusted by positioning the blown glass diffuser as necessary.




- SERVI Series - Zanotta (1961)


The servi series uses the idea of a dumb waiter as a central design component that drives the aesthetic throughout the collection. Creating a consistent image throughout everyday object such as umbrella stands, ash trays and partitions.





SANLUCA - Poltrona Frau (1961)


Designed with the idea of avoiding traditional padding in order to lay bare the essential curves that are ‘strictly necessary’ to ensure optimal support, Sanluca is an extraordinary example of Italian design. Ergonomic and avant-garde, the shape is contoured to beautifully fit your body.