Few industrial designers left a mark quite like that of Achille Castiglioni, whose pioneering work with ordinary materials and everyday objects reverberated throughout the latter half of the 20th century and beyond. (Fun fact: his business partner and frequent collaborator Luigi Caccia Dominioni designed one of the many pricey holiday homes now dotting the Mediterranean island of Elba, where Napoleon was exiled.) Until February 22nd, the Achille Castiglioni Foundation is offering the public a chance to see many of his creations in the Milan studio where they were first conceived, an 18th-century palazzo apartment Castiglioni worked out of starting in 1944.
Though the place has changed since the New York Times dropped by in 2011, back when it was displayed in musée biographique style, just as he left it upon his death in 2002, it's now stocked with a more comprehensive array of his work. The room has been turned into a veritable I Spy search-and-find game of spot the genre-rattling piece of modern design. Join us, why don't you, on a visual tour, starting with the above photograph, where you'll the RR126 hi-fi stereo Castiglioni designed in 1965, his Tea for Two set on a Mini Mate folding tray, and an Ipotenusa table lamp attached to a Scrittarello desk.
↑ Front and center is the Mezzadro stool, which takes its form from a tractor seat designed in the early 1900s; it's a great example of Castiglioni's penchant for repurposing ordinary objects. On the top left of the wooden Rampa shelving unit, keen readers will spot a version of Steven Guarnaccia's The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale, possibly featured because Guarnaccia once did a book on Castiglioni.
↑ And what would a Castiglioni exhibit be without the Taccia lamp, which diffuses light through an extruded-aluminum surface with a matte-white finish? Utterly incomplete, that's what. In a 1970 interview, the designer described it as "the Mercedes of lamps, a symbol of success: perhaps because it looks like the shaft of a classical column. We certainly weren't thinking of prestige when we designed it. We just wanted a surface that would stay cool." To the right, the equally iconic Sancarlo chair.
· Casa Castiglioni Necessary #207 [Klat Magazine]