ACHILLE CASTIGLIONI AND THE GOLDEN AGE OF ITAL­IAN DE­SIGN

All About Italy (USA) - - Content - Franco Del Panta

Cel­e­brat­ing the cen­te­nary of the birth of the in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed vi­sion­ary ar­chi­tect and de­signer

If the world of de­sign were to be de­scribed via the lan­guage and dy­nam­ics of a cin­e­matic en­vi­ron­ment, ar­chi­tect Achille Castiglioni would have to be con­sid­ered the ‘de­signer-di­rec­tor’ of an un­for­get­table creative Golden Age par ex­cel­lence. Born in Mi­lan in 1918, Castiglioni was the great pro­tag­o­nist of one of Italy’s most fer­tile pe­ri­ods of cre­ativ­ity, ar­tic­u­lat­ing, thanks to his vi­sion­ary prow­ess, a new de­sign lan­guage des­tined to for­ever leave its mark. His in­ex­haustible pro­fes­sional ac­tiv­ity saw him re­al­ize 484 in­stal­la­tion projects, 290 arte­facts, many of which have be­come true icons of de­sign cul­ture, and that’s with­out men­tion­ing his 191 ar­chi­tec­tural projects.

Achille be­gan de­sign­ing to­gether with his brother Pier Gi­a­como un­til 1968, af­ter which he went out on his own, con­cen­trat­ing al­most ob­ses­sively on ex­per­i­men­ta­tion with ‘ephemeral ar­chi­tec­ture’, his fa­vorite field as part of his con­tin­ual re­search into in­no­va­tion in the com­bin­ing of orig­i­nal tech­nol­ogy with new ma­te­ri­als. The ‘di­rec­tor’ Castiglioni, lifts the tran­sient from its fragility and steers it know­ingly to­wards a time­less di­men­sion, bring­ing back from within dif­fer­ent his­tor­i­cal eras the em­bod­i­ment of a con­tin­u­ous present which never fades away. Even his arte­facts clearly re­flect this at­ti­tude to­wards time and space: we can see it in unique cre­ations such as the Arco, Aoi, Gibi­giana, Ipotenusa, Lu­mi­na­tor, Splü­gen Braü and La Lam­pad­ina lamps, and also the Maz­zadro and Sella stools, the Tric fold­ing chair, the Moon-land­ing seat, the Dry cut­lery, the Wall Clock and the Rekord clocks. These ob­jects have been trans­formed into time­less de­sign icons and, in ad­di­tion, in­clude the Pri­mate kneel­ing-seat, the RR126 stereo ra­dio­gram, the Lapis vase, and Rom­pi­tratta switch. “The ob­ject of de­sign should not be fash­ion. In fact fash­ion is de­signed to go out of fash­ion. Good de­sign should re­main cur­rent, un­til it be­comes worn out,” said Castiglioni, “ca­pa­ble of in­cor­po­rat­ing into it­self, the lay­outs and ideas

The his­tory of the ar­chi­tect and de­signer Castiglioni is the fas­ci­nat­ing story of a creative mav­er­ick who was able to re-in­vent the role of the tem­po­rary in­stal­la­tion as an ef­fec­tive means of com­mer­cial and cul­tural com­mu­ni­ca­tion

brought from the field of ex­hi­bi­tion.

The im­mor­tal ma­te­ri­als and forms, al­though sub­ject to use and in­tended for the con­sumer, de­lin­eate in turn the evo­lu­tion of the city of Mi­lan, through changes in com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial dy­nam­ics and the in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions of the me­trop­o­lis. For Castiglioni, the form de­rives from the chal­lenges of func­tion, solved with co­her­ence and sim­plic­ity: the nag­ging para­dox which has long trou­bled ar­chi­tects and de­sign gu­rus is re­solved by Achille who makes the aes­thet­i­cally-beau­ti­ful and con­crete­ly­valid co­in­cide. There­fore, there is no gap be­tween form and func­tion, beauty and ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion are the cor­ner­stones of Castiglioni’s cre­ations: his great­ness is sim­ply ex­pressed by his abil­ity to con­vert triv­ial, ev­ery­day in­con­ve­niences, such as an an­noy­ing lamp or a tool of limited util­ity, into great op­por­tu­ni­ties such as the Toio lamp - a ready-made so­lu­tion wor­thy of Duchamp. High, thin, Left: Por­trait of Achille Castiglioni with Arco lamp, be­gin­ning of the ‘70s Achille Castiglioni Archive Right: Te­les­cuola. Pavil­ion for the XXXVII Mi­lan Fair, 1959, Cus­tomer: RAI. Mi­lan Fair. Achille and Pier Gi­a­como Castiglioni. Graph­ics: Pino To­vaglia, Posters: Ra­dio In­vi­ta­tion. Graph­ics: Iliprandi, Steiner, Max Hu­ber, Mu­nari, Zaibl, Benca, Bian­coni, Provin­ciali, To­vaglia. Achille Castiglioni Archive © 2018, Prolit­teris, Zurich. Tele­vi­sion and ra­dio broad­cast­ing in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties. Pavil­ion for the XLIII Mi­lan Fair, 1965 Cus­tomer: RAI. Mi­lan Fair. Achille and Pier Gi­a­como Castiglioni. Graph­ics: Enzo Mari. Achille Castiglioni Archive

Sim­plic­ity and irony per­vade the Mas­ter’s con­cepts, and a tal­ent for cre­at­ing new shapes and spa­ces, some in sym­bi­otic col­lab­o­ra­tion with graphic de­sign­ers, par­tic­u­larly the Swiss Max Hu­ber

light­weight, re­fined, it man­ages to com­bine ease of move­ment with a spe­cific use­ful­ness as the mounted light unit needs to be able to be swiv­elled to il­lu­mi­nate a sin­gle point at a time. In­no­va­tion and con­cept brought to life, such as the Al­lu­nag­gio gar­den-seat, which is sup­ported by three thin steel legs, is easy to move about and re­sem­bles a friendly spi­der on-the-move. “I view ob­jects as if they were at the cen­ter of a net­work of con­nec­tions to the en­vi­ron­ment, bound to each other with af­fec­tion and mu­tual sym­pa­thy.” It’s no co­in­ci­dence that levity, play­ful­ness, and em­pa­thy rep­re­sent Castiglioni’s true strengths, a firm sup­porter of rec­i­proc­ity be­tween de­signer and client. In his ar­chi­tect’s stu­dio, a 45º in­clined mir­ror cre­ated the il­lu­sion of plung­ing into a fic­ti­tious par­al­lel di­men­sion. At first glance, Achille Castiglioni ap­peared to be there in front of the vis­i­tor, when in fact he was sat in an ad­ja­cent room. An il­lu­sion, a friendly joke: Achille in­vited his in­ter­locu­tors to par­tic­i­pate in a vi­sion­ary ap­proach to re­al­ity. Castiglioni’s his­tory and cre­ations have demon­strated his in­cred­i­ble tal­ent for know­ing how to con­ceive and uti­lize ev­ery con­cept in the field of de­sign.

For Achille Castiglioni, the form de­rives from the chal­lenges of func­tion, solved with co­her­ence and sim­plic­ity: the nag­ging para­dox which has long trou­bled ar­chi­tects and de­sign gu­rus is re­solved by Achille who makes the aes­thet­i­cally-beau­ti­ful and con­cretely-valid co­in­cide

1. 1. La Lam­pad­ina, con­ceived by Achille Castiglioni in 1972 on the oc­ca­sion of the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the Flos store in Turin 2. Achille and Pier Gi­a­como Castiglioni, Mez­zadro, stool, 1957, stem in chromed steel, trac­tor seat in lac­quered me­tal, footrest in oven-dried beech, pro­duced by Zan­otta, Photo by Matteo Zarbo Max Hu­ber Archive 3. Achille Castiglioni, Gibi­giana, ta­ble lamp, 1980, pro­duced for Flos Photo by Matteo Zarbo Achille Castiglioni Archive

2.

3.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.