On the occasion of the centenary of his birth, and until January 20, La Triennale di Milano dedicates a major monographic exhibition to Achille Castiglioni (1918-2002), one of the most important maestros of Italian design. ‘A Castiglioni‘ (For Castiglioni), is curated by Patricia Urquiola – who graduated with him at the Politecnico University of Milan in 1989 and, like him, is able surprise through design – in collaboration with Federica Sala and it analyses his work across the board, ranging from design to architecture, from display installations to exhibitions.

Castiglioni has undoubtedly been one of the founding fathers of the Italian design system. His simple and direct approach which carries a wealth of inquisitiveness and irony has become a design method that he used to train generations of designers. Castiglioni designed over 400 temporary display installations for exhibitions and fairs and worked with countless companies in the sector, including Alessi, Brionvega, B&B Italia, BBB Bonacina, Cimbali, Danese, Driade, De Padova, Flos – for which he worked as a designer from the moment the company was founded – Cassina, Moroso, Knoll International, Kartell, and Zanotta.

Until 1968, he designed his items in collaboration with his brothers Livio and, especially, Pier Giacomo. Most of them are still in production today and are among their manufacturers’ bestselling products. He took inspiration from the everyday objects and transformed them into something new, adopting a wry approach to the relationship between form and function

To give a clear picture of this highly active and, in a sense, timeless figure, it has been decided not to adopt a chronological or schematic approach but to show his work by means of a series of often overlapping and intersecting aggregates of content. The idea is thus to create a map of recurrent macro and micro concepts in his designs, in a non-hierarchic, non-linear, ramified manner.

The designs are thus grouped in twenty clusters and placed in relation to each other, in order to illustrate Castiglioni’s approach to design and the method he adopted in his work: from product design through to large-scale architecture, by way of the many display designs that were emblematic of his professional career.

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