Achille Castiglioni was born in Milan in 1918, he graduated in Architecture in 1944.
Since 1940 he had dedicated himself to experimenting on industrial products with his brothers Livio ((1911-1979) and Pier Giacomo (1913-1968). Their interests were directed towards Urban Planning, Architecture and Design; they performed analysis and research on new forms, techniques and materials, aimed at developing a process of “integral design”.
In 1969, he was nominated Professor of “Artistic Industrial Design”; he chaired the Faculty of Architecture in Turin until 1980 and taught in Milan until 1993 as Professor of “Industrial Design” at the Polytechnic of Milan.
In 1956 he was one of the founders of ADI (Association for Design Industry).
MoMA’s permanent collection in New York hosts 14 of his works.
Other works may be found in the following museums:
Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Kunstgewerbe Museum in Zurich, Staatliches Museum für Angewandte Kunst in Munich, Design Museum in Prato, Uneleckoprumyslove Museum in Prague, Israel Museum in Jerusalem, The Denver Art Museum, Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Angewandte Kunst Museum in Hamburg and Koln.
He earned nine “Compasso d’Oro” awards:
- “Compasso d’Oro” 1955 (Luminator floor lamp)
- “Compasso d’Oro” 1960 (T 12 Palini chair)
- “Compasso d’Oro” 1962 (Pitagora espresso machine)
- “Compasso d’Oro” 1964 (Spinamatic beer spigot)
- “Compasso d’Oro” 1967 (translator’s earphones)
- “Compasso d’Oro” 1979 (Parentesi lamp)
- “Compasso d’Oro” 1979 (Omsa hospital bed)
- “Compasso d’Oro” 1984 (Dry cutlery)
- “Compasso d’Oro” 1989 (special mention to a profession dedicated to industrial design on the following grounds ”For he elevated industrial design, by means of his unreplaceable experience, to the highest levels of culture”).
Between 1984 and 1986 the Österreichisches Museum für Angewandte of Wien hosted his itinerant “personal” exhibition, which was then successfully repeated at the Akademie der Kunst in Berlin, at the Triennale in Milan, at the Kunstgewerbe Museum in Zurich, at the Haags Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, at the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid and at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
1985 - Honorary Member of the "Committee of Advisors" at Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, California and Montreaux, Switzerland).
1986 - Honorary Member of the Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry, Royal Society of Art (London).
1987 - Honorary Degree from the Royal College of Art (London).
1993 - Annual award from "The Chartered Society of Designers" (London).
1994 - "Primavera del Design" Award from the Department of Culture (Catalonia).
1995 - "Art sur Table" Award from the Conseil National des Art Culinaire (Paris).
1996 - "IF Design Wettbewerb" Award from Industrie Forum Design (Hanover).
1996 - "Longevity-Langlebigkeit" Award from Design Center (Stuttgart).
1999 - "Domus/INARCH 1998” Award from INARCH.
1999 - "Targa d´Oro Unione Italiana per il Disegno" Award from the Faculty of Architecture of Genoa.
1999 - Wins the Enel "Sostegni per l´Ambiente" competition along with Michele De Lucchi.
2001 - Industrial Design Honoris Causa Degree from the Polytechnic of Milan.
In 1995 on the occasion of the award “Primavera del Design”, his “personal” exhibition “A la Castiglioni” was organized in Barcelona and then again at the Furniture Fair in Milan, at the Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery in Bergamo, in 1997 at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, at the MoMA in New York, in 1998 at the Living Design Center Ozone in Tokyo, at the Art Museum in Niitsu and at the De Beyerd Museum in Breda.
Very many objects designed by Achille Castiglioni have been produced by remarkable companies such as: Aerotecnica Italiana, Alessi, Aura, Brionvega, Bernini, B&B Italia, BBB Bonacina, Cedit, Cimbali, Danese, De Padova, Driade, Feg, Flos, Fusital, Cassina, Gavina, Ideal Standard, Italtel, Il Coccio Umidificatori, Interflex,
The Italian designer and architect Pier Giacomo Castiglioni is the second of the three Castiglioni brothers. Like his brothers, Pier Giacomo Castiglioni studied architecture at Milan Polytechnic, taking his degree in 1937. In 1938 Pier Giacomo Castiglioni and his elder brother, Livio, founded a practice in Milan, which the youngest brother, Achille, joined in 1944. All three Castiglioni brothers were interested in both technology and art. Livio left the joint practice in 1952 to go his own way.
Pier Giacomo Castiglioni is regarded as the intellectual equal of his brother Achille. Until his untimely death in 1968, Pier Giacomo collaborated with Achille on numerous designer objects. In 1957 the exhibition "Colori e forme nella casa d'oggi" (Colors and Forms in Today's Home) was mounted at the Villa Olmo in Como, where Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni annoyed specialists with their vision of a modern lifestyle because what they showed was a colorful jumble of styles that incorporated old and new furnishings instead of uniformly styled interiors. Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni showed many of their designs, including for the first time their "readymades". "Mezzadro", a stool consisting of a tractor seat mounted on a substructure and "Sella", a telephone stool with a bicycle saddle as a seat were not made until many years later, by Zanotta.
The two brothers were particularly successful with the lighting they designed for Arredoluce, Flos, and Artemide. They playfully explored new possibilities for form, linking technical innovation and Minimalist economy of means to produce highly functional objects which were just as aesthetically satisfying as they were practical. In 1955 the Castiglionis designed "Luminator" for Arredoluce; their "Taraxacum" hanging lamp dates from 1960 and the hanging lamp "Splügen Bräu" for Flos was launched in 1961. Another Castiglioni design for Flos was the 1962 die lamp "Arco", which links the qualities of floor and hanging lamps.
The Castiglioni brothers not only exerted a strong influence on the younger generation of Italian designers. Pier Giacomo Castiglioni taught design at Milan Polytechnic from 1946 until his death. Achille Castiglioni also taught interior decoration and industrial design there from 1982 until 1986 and was a professor of industrial design at Turin Polytechnic from 1970 until 1980.
The Museum of Modern Art collection owns many works by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni.