Described as one amongst a generation of Italian designers who ‘turned the language of design on its head’ following the Second World War, Castiglioni will always be remembered as a legend in the field of design.
Born in Milan in 1918, Achille Castiglioni was to become known as the ‘Godfather of Italian modernism’, which became prevalent in European culture in the 60’s.
Family was always integral to Achille; he set up his first design office with his brother Livio and Pier Giacomo (also renowned designers in their own right). He established a studio in Milan in 1944 and from there his career flourished as he went on to become known worldwide.
The perfect mix between a designer and an artist: many of Castiglioni’s works can be found in museums all across the world now, including a multitude of designs such as the famous ‘Sella’ seat in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Achille’s work with Flos – the impeccable Fucsia pendants
Flos was delighted to attain the services of this magnificent artist, in the prime years of his career, and his works remain among Flos’ most enviable pieces. These include the AOY, Arco, Gatto, Lampadina, Snoopy, Taccia, Toio, Stylos and Fucsia ranges.
The Fucsia 1 Pendant procures both concentrated or diffused light from a single hand-blown glass conical tube, with a finely sandblasted edge.
The tubular steel body is coated with a white gloss powder, and comes complete with a transparent power cord and silicone ring, to add to the mystique of the enchanting light.
The pendants epitomise the ‘flosophy’ of Flos, which has long played with bold experimentation in shape, material and LED technology. They have never been afraid to make radical choices throughout the generations and embrace ‘avant garde’ breakthroughs in design.
The Concept behind the Fuscia – Achille’s inspirations
Throughout his entire career, Achille has gathered inspiration from everyday items, making use of ordinary materials to create forms that would subvert expectations. He was renowned for using the minimal amount of materials necessary to create a maximum effect in his works.
The Fuscia 1 pendant, for instance, was based on the stark, spartan beauty of industrial tools and this is reflected in the minimal amount of materials used to make the light; namely glass, silicone and steel.
This is perhaps why the Fucsia manages to be simultaneously so beautiful and eye-catching, yet in a completely unfussy and minimalist manner.
Achille’s Lasting legacy beyond Flos and Fucsia
It must be noted that his art forms and works certainly extended beyond lighting. Achille and his brothers Livio and Pier actually helped reconstruct buildings such as the Palazzo della Permanente, destroyed by bombing in the Second World War in 1943.
His passions were manifold: above all he loved to subvert expectations and transform objects into something new. He infamously altered a tractor seat – ‘the Mezzadro seat’ into a striking looking stool in 1957 that is still selling today, and looks like something that could be found at an IKEA; his sense of futurism was truly remarkable.
The ‘Mezzadro’ seat is not the only one of Achilles designs to remain in production.
Copies and replicas of his famous ‘Arco’ lamp are plentiful, with his daughter saying he would be most complemented by this. Flos might disagree, as they sell the legitimate version of this masterwork, albeit at it a hardly an economical price!
Whether it be in the field of household items, furniture, building architecture or lighting, Achille Castiglioni thoroughly earned his nickname as ‘the Godfather of Italian modernism’. We are proud to be associated with his wonderful designs through our partnership with Flos.
Further reading on this designer (and sources for this article):