Castiglioni brothers


The summer holidays have just passed and I used my time in the best way: travelling, relaxing, and I was able to finally able to spend time with the people I love and see my long-time friends that for one reason or another I can never see as often as I’d like. I mean, those good friends that you care about a lot, but you have also gone on completely different paths and so it’s difficult to reestablish the old friendship.

Everyone is following their own passion or dream and every time we meet again the feeling is strange; all of us have grown, we have new experiences and stories to tell each other, but it feels as if no time has passed at all and things are just as they were before. One has become a doctor, one has become an engineer, one is now a merchant, another is a biologist, and the other is now a secretary.


Then there’s me. My story is one you already know and as far as I’m concerned, I’m happy to have followed the path of design. It was not only decision that I made out of personal interest, but also because of the history and its product which I found so interesting that I knew, “yes, this is what I want to do.”

For these reasons I’ve come up with the idea of ​​starting the section #icons, a space for our community, where we can talk about the great people who have helped make design a unique discipline. A place in which to share personal views, ideas, projects, and stories. I’m sure these stories will be fascinating and motivate us and our ideas on the quality design even more!

We’ll talk about all of the designers that have the ability to make us think and reflect, and even at times, direct us on a specific or different path.

This was what happened to me when learning about Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, two brothers who are the early protagonists of this section.

If these names don’t mean anything to you now, certainly thanks this “small” clue, you will get who I’m talking about right away. Here is your clue: “The Arco Lamp.” It is the most iconic product of the Castiglioni brothers and one that has forever changed my “destiny.”


It was actually the Arco Lamp that ignited that spark of passion for universal beauty and design as a perfect expression for the modern man.

Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni are one of the most explosive creative duos that history has ever seen. Even today, despite the fact that they are no longer with us, they continue to dominate in the world of design and in Italian style.


Achille and Pier Giacomo during the creative process

Both were born in Milan, Pier Giacomo in 1913 Achille and in 1918, and both of them graduated from the Faculty of Architecture of the Polytechnic of Milan and in their lives both were involved in architecture, urban planning and design.

After each brother had had some individual work experiences, right after the war, the two brothers began to come together on a closed collaboration.

They were very active in the restoration of buildings and the post-war reconstruction. However, it was with the field of design that they had complete freedom to express their amazing creativity, giving us products that are indeed masterpieces and that have forever changed the concept of design.

Their poetry is simple and straightforward and is based on seeing the creative process with irony.

The Castiglioni brothers were often influenced, especially at the beginning, by artistic movements like Surrealism and Dadaism. Because of this, they were able to transform ordinary objects into extraordinary icons.

Do you want me to give you an idea of what I’m talking about?

Well, if you just take a look at the “Mezzadro” stool, it was transformed from an agricultural seat to an interior seat, in this case with a clear Dadaist influence.  


Or just look here! This is a car headlight that was transformed into the lamp called, the “Luminator.”

Or here, fishing wires were used to create the lamp called, “Toio.”

What do you think? Do you like them as much as I do? Would you like to have them in your office?

Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni even designed objects for some of the most important companies. To give you an idea, here are a few examples: Alessi, Brionvega, Bernini B&B Italia, BBB Bonacina, Driade, De Padova, Flos, Fusital, Cassina, Moroso, Olivetti, Omsa, Poggi, Teorema, Knoll International, Kartell, Up & Up, VLM, Zanotta. There is a lot, right?

Many of their products are still available today, not only in production,  but also among the most prestigious bestsellers that the market has available.

Besides planning, they always supported creativity with their great research activity (in shapes, technology, and materials). Achille and Pier Giacomo were always very active in the international cultural social life related to the design world.

In fact, in between all of these activities, they also participated in the founding of ADI”: a prestigious Industrial Design Association”, which is still active today and is particularly famous for the “The Golden Compass prize.

Furthermore, almost as if they had lived the same life together, each brother taught for many years at the University.

Achille was a professor of “Industrial Design” from 1969 to 1993 at the Polytechnic in Turin, Faculty of Architecture. On the other hand, his brother, Pier Giacomo was a professor of “Architectonical Composition” from 1958 to 1968 at the Polytechnic in Milan, Faculty of Architecture.

Achille and Pier Giacomo received many national and international prices during their lives, including the “Lauree ad Honoris.”

Many of their products are still exposed in the some of the most important museums in the world.

The passing of Pier Giacomo in 1968 in Milan interrupted the exceptional collaboration.

Over the following years, Achille carried on their creative project successfully until his death in 2002 in Milan.

At the end of their life, as it often happens for geniuses in any fields (art, music, or in this case, design), the Castiglioni brothers will always be remembered thanks to their work and influence they had on many designers and innovators.

The Castiglioni brothers are known all over the world because of the innovation they made, the ideas they shared, and the products they designed.

I’m sure you know their products as well. Maybe you don’t know the products’ exact names, or maybe you don’t know that some products you are familiar with are designed by the Castiglioni brothers. \However, if you are interested in design or if you are just curious, I’m sure you know these products. These products are part of our creative DNA. There is no alternative!

Below I leave you with a gallery that will show you many of the Castiglioni brothers’ products that are still available on the market. Let’s see if I was right! ?


the “Taraxacum 88” lamp


the “Firenze” wall clock


the “Frisbi” lamp


the “Lampadina” lamp


the “Dry” cutlery set


the “Viscontea” lamp


the “Parentesi” lamp


the “San Luca” armchair


the “Taraxacum” lamp


the “Servonotte” valet stand

What do you think of the Castiglioni brothers? Did you know about them before? Did you already know their products? Above all, do you like the new section #icons? Would you like me to talk to a designer particularly important to you? Write to me and tell me everything you think about these topics: opinions, criticisms, advice. I’ll be happy to read what you have to say!


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