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Icons: Achille Castiglioni

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One of the masters of design, he knew how to incorporate wit in this work, but never without purpose, and almost rewriting the rules each time

Achille Castiglioni’s designs have changed the way the world lights up and sits down. This Italian designer has redefined the meaning of good design. Going beyond embellishments, his work strives to achieve simplicity and complete utility. The most well-known product designed by Castiglioni (with his brother Pier) was the Arco lamp. There is nothing decorative about the lamp, including the beveled base, which was created to make it easier to lift the lamp.

Achille entered the world of design post the World War II and joined his elder brothers who were also architects. Together they experimented with new technologies that were developed then. The two brothers – Achille and Pier designed the Tubino Light in 1951, which used the still nascent fluorescent tube. During his association with the lighting company Flos he created three of their most famous light Taccia, Arco and Toio. He would use unlikely objects from everyday life to create products that not only looked good but also had great utility value. Case in point is the Mezzadro chair where he used tractor seats and the Toio lamp made from a car.

In his long and illustrious career he touched upon many spheres. He has contributed to Brionvega, an Italian radio and television company where he worked on a stereo design, which had parts that would sit neatly on top of each other and reduce clutter. His Snoopy light is an embodiment of the importance he gave to humour in his designs, and in his life.

He was a teacher authorized by the Ministry of Education to teach Artistic Design for Industry. Castiglioni had a long stance teaching young minds, inspiring them with his unique purpose of design.

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