Design Interviews - Achille Castiglioni

Year: 2008, 30 mins - PAL
Code: MUS-Castiglioni


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What is design? The interview series which was lauched in New York’s MoMA reveals the answers of six masters of design in this historical collection. Directed by Anna Pitscheider, co-edited by Museo Alessi and Edizioni Corraini in 2008, the interviews portray masters who have made Italian design famous across the world. Brief conversations, reflections and anecdotes that describe with spontaneity and great eloquence the teachings that have shaped their personal and professional lives.

“There has to be irony both in design and in the objects. I see around me a professional disease of taking everything too seriously,” Achille Castiglioni once said. “One of my secrets is to joke all the time.”

Castiglioni believed that design should add humour to our lives. The Snoopy light (1967; pictured) was so named because its silhouette was similar to the cartoon dog.

Other examples of Castiglioni’s witty approach include homages to Dada artist Marcel Duchamp, as found in the use of a fishing rod and car headlamp in his Toio floor light (1962) and the tractor and bicycle seats in the Mezzadro (pictured) and Sella designs (1957).

These chairs were so radical at the time that it wasn’t until 1971 and 1983 respectively that Zanotta put them into production.

Most of his important early works were designed with his brother Pier Giacomo. Their most famous collaboration is the Arco floor lamp for Flos in 1962.

Loosely based on the common street lamp, it’s now one of the most recognised (and copied) lights of the 20th century.

Italian with English subtitle.

Achille Castiglioni, Italian architect and interior designer (born Feb. 16, 1918, Milan, Italy—died Dec. 2, 2002, Milan), produced modern furnishings and accessories that were noted for their functional nature and witty styling.

After graduating from the Polytechnic Institute of Milan in 1944, Castiglioni went to work with his brothers Livio and Pier Giacomo. Livio quit in 1952, but Achille and Pier Giacomo continued to collaborate. In addition to architectural projects, the brothers created signature interior pieces that included the Mezzadro, a stool topped with a tractor seat, and the Arco lamp, a ball-shaped shade attached to a steel arch, which could replace an overhead light.

After Pier Giacomo’s death in 1968, Achille continued as a solo designer and urban planner and taught at his alma mater. Castiglioni won the Golden Compass, Italy’s top prize for industrial design, nine times. In 1997 the Museum of Modern Art in New York City held an exhibition of his work.

 

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