chille Castiglioni was born precisely one hundred years ago (on the 16th February 1918 to be precise), one of the most important Italian designers of all time. To mark this centenary, the Fondazione Castiglioni opens the 2018 season with the retrospective 100x100 Achille, curated by Chiara Alessi and Domitilla Dardi.
This is a provocation of sorts, an irreverent invite addressed to 100 international designers: to pay tribute to Castiglioni, bearing witness to his advice “Be curious. If you aren’t, forget it”. So, 100 anonymous objects that go to extend Castiglioni’s already numerous collection and are put on display in the Fondazione’s four rooms, which is the designer’s old Milanese studio and is still a magical place to date.
In fact, under the watchful eye of Achille’s children Giovanna and Carlo, the iconic studio Anchille Castiglioni has become a place where objects, prototypes and industrial design projects are displayed side by side and convey a vibrant energy as soon as you walk through the door. From tables to shelves, the “famous” anonymous objects Castiglioni enjoyed collecting are everywhere you look: they bear witness to everyday life, they were behind Anchille’s creativity, just like the copper cake moulds (which inspired hat designs, including the legendary Borsalino), a camera reel that was turned into the unique cable-winding base of the Light-Bulb designed for Flos in 1971 or the spring that as if by magic were turned into a brilliant ashtray.
This exhibition is definitely worth seeing: it’ll open to the public on the 19th February, to give the way to a second exhibition at the end of April (this tribute is curated by Beppe Finesse) Dimensione Domestica, Atto III, Tokyo: the reconstruction of a dining room scheme, designed by Achille Castiglioni in 1984.
Vitality, curiosity and creativity in its purest form; this is the spirit that Fondazione Castiglioni wants to convey with this and the other exhibitions planned for this year (held in other locations too such as the museum in Chiasso or the Triennale di Milano). Because Achille Castiglioni was a cheerful man who knew how to enjoy life, but he never lost the desire to learn, know and experience more. It’s no mere coincidence that on the walls of the Fondazione there is a black and white portrait of a smiling Castiglioni, who with a lively blink appears to be encouraging us discover the secrets of design.
Where: Fondazione Castiglioni, 27 Piazza Castello, Milan, Italy
When: 19 February - 30 April 2018