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For the centennial of his birth, the Triennale di Milano have produced a major exhibition on one of the most important masters of Italian design, Achille Castiglioni (1918-2002). The exhibition is curated by Patricia Urquiola in collaboration with Federica Sala and creative partner Flos, and is on from October 6th, 2018 to January 20th, 2019 in the spaces of the Milanese cultural institution based in the Palazzo dell’Arte.
The story of Flos is intertwined in an indissoluble way with the Castiglioni brothers who, together with Tobia Scarpa, have been the reference designers of the company since its foundation, in the early 1960s, with an unprecedented fermentation of revolutionary ideas and intuitions that would lead to the creation of objects destined to remain forever in the history of design.
In addition to the extraordinary series of cocoon lamps, such as Taraxacum, Viscontea and Gatto, the working relationship between Achille and Pier Giacomo with Sergio Gandini resulted in some iconic products such as Arco, Luminator, Taccia, Toio and Snoopy. The successful and prolific collaboration of the Castiglioni brothers then continued with just Achille after the untimely death of Pier Giacomo, resulting in a new series of successes, with highlights including Lampadina, Aoy, Gibigiana, and Parentesi, the brilliant height-adjustable lamp designed in 1971 from a Pio Manzù’s spark, winner of a Compasso d’Oro ADI award and exhibited in the permanent collections of the most important design museums in the world.
Within the twenty clusters of which the exhibition is composed, we find almost the entire production of lighting fixtures designed by the brothers or by Achille alone, many of which are still bestsellers in the Flos Home catalogue. Other legendary lights, including Teli, Relemme, Diabolo, Black & White, Sciuko, Padina, Giovi, Noce and Bibip, on the other hand, come from the Flos archives or the Castiglioni Foundation itself, together with a selection of original catalogues and documents and valuable period images. Also on display are Ventosa and Nasa, the two small, entertaining devices already recovered and reissued by Flos in a limited edition at the historic store on Corso Monforte 9 during the recent preparation of the Fuorisalone, again dedicated to the eccentric and ingenious Master.
Piero Gandini, CEO of Flos, recalled the salient features of the personality and design philosophy of Achille Castiglioni in a conversation with Patricia Urquiola for the exhibition catalogue, published by Electa, as follows: “One thing that Achille always passed on to me, even in the most advanced years of his career, was his positive energy. His gestures, his curious way of moving, his voice… For a while, I thought it was just his sense of humour. Then I realised that there was more to it. He wanted to change things every time. He had a subversive attitude to design and to society and things. He was a profoundly good and kind man, but at the same time he was extremely revolutionary. He was truly at the cutting edge. From Achille, I absorbed this legacy of innovation as a moral, almost political, obligation.”
Images: patriciaurquiola.com; internimagazine.com