What are you working on at the moment, at the Castiglioni Foundation?
Next year will be the 100th anniversary of my father’s birth, and we are organizing a range of initiatives, including two exhibitions at the Foundation. The first is “Cento per cento Achille”, which will open on February 16th (his birthday) until April 30th. We asked one hundred designers to contribute a plain object – such as a pair of scissors or a hammer – that has become famous or popular, but whose designer is unknown. My father loved these objects and often showcased them during lessons at universities, to prove how important they were to students. For example, scissors were at the base of a wonderful lesson he held on the relationship between form and function: cutting, of course, but also the shape of the object that could change depending on whether they were used to prune bonsais or cut fabric. The exhibition will be curated by Domitilla Dardi and Chiara Alessi, and will be an opportunity to celebrate all unknown designers.
The second initiative stems from the exhibition project that the Foundation started last year with “Dimensione Domestica”, which explores the themes of modern living by recreating setups by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. After “Ambiente di soggiorno”, which was displayed at Villa Olmo in Como in 1957 and “L’ambiente arredato per il pranzo” that my father and his brother showcased at Palazzo Strozzi, Florence in 1965, next year (from May to December) we’ll have “Ambiente per il pranzo”, which Achille designed for the 1984 “Mobili Italiani” exhibition held in Tokyo, which we will replicate at the Foundation.
What do you remember about your father, Achille Castiglioni?
He was open, humble and warm. I remember him being happy all the time. He came home whistling. He loved his job very much, but never loved us kids any less. We were privileged. I was the youngest and even had the chance to enjoy more time with him, once his career was going, he was happy, and happy to work for different companies. I have to admit my job at the Foundation is wonderful, and it gives me the chance to feel my father close even now that he is gone.
What was his approach to design?
He was rigorous and precise, but always with a touch of irony that could deflate tension at work. He played a lot with all his designs, although he always aimed for the best in quality and believed in well-designed projects.