Achille Castiglioni

February 1918 - December 2002

Photo of Achille Castiglioni
Most designers list where their work is exhibited. In Achille Castiglioni’s case, it’s easier to list the design museums that haven’t displayed his work. With products showcased in museums all over the world, Castiglioni is one of those rare designers whose products are both internationally acclaimed and practical enough for daily use. Turning the design world on its head, Castiglioni rediscovered the beauty and function of industrial materials and created designs of unparalleled function and form.

Born in Milan in 1918, Castiglioni studied architecture at Milan Polytechnic, where his rare talent meant he designed commercial products even before he graduated. His 1938 Caccia cutlery set, designed while he was a student, is still used in Italian homes today.

In 1944, Castiglioni joined his two elder brothers, Livio and Pier Giacomo, at their design studio and together they created groundbreaking products that took the design world by storm. Known for quirky, intelligent and original products, the Castiglioni brothers created design classics that are still manufactured today.

After an exceptional solo career, Castiglioni returned to Milan Polytechnic in later life as a lecturer. He became one of the institute’s most inspiring teachers. Encouraging his students to see beauty in every day things, Castiglioni brought to class practical objects, such as suction cups and wooden stools, and challenged students to incorporate these ‘day-to-day’ items in their designs.

Castiglioni’s designs have won countless awards, including nine Compasso d’Oro awards – a prestigious prize celebrating quality Italian design. He has won design awards from cities worldwide, including London, Paris, Genoa and Stuttgart.

Working well into his sixties, Castiglioni created popular cutlery designs for famous Italian brand, Alessi, in the 1980s.

His originality and practical genius mean he is rightly known as one of the greatest industrial designers of the 20th century.

Products by this designer