Achille Castiglioni (1918-2002) was one of the most important industrial designers of the 20th century creating over 150 products and winning the prestigious Italian product design Compasso d’Oro award eight times.
Castiglioni studied architecture at the Milan Polytechnic and on graduating in 1944 he joined his elder brothers Livio (1911-1979) and Pier Giacomo (1913-1968) in the design studio that they had established on Piazza Castello in Milan.
Throughout his life Castiglioni was a firm advocate that before designing a product a designer had a responsibility first to analyse whether it was necessary to do so. His witty personality and delight in paradox was often showcased in his designs. For example the 1957 Sella Stool that he designed with his brother Pier Giacomo from a bicycle seat pivoted on a tubular stem and a cast iron base was inspired by his desire for a more comfortable form of seating when using a pay phone. During his career he forged enduring relationships with Italian manufacturers such as Flos in lighting, Zanotta in furniture and Alessi in home products.
It was at Flos that Castilioni and Pier created the hanging Splügen Bräu lamp (1961) followed by the Arco floor lamp (1962), which was modelled on a streetlight to project the light source eight feet from its heavy marble base. However not just a designer, Castiglioni dedicated his time to passing on his ideas and knowledge by teaching at the architecture faculty at the Turin Polytechnic (1971-1977) and Milan Polytechnic (1986). Castiglioni continued working for new and existing clients right up to his untimely death in 2002.