“There has to be irony both in design and in the objects. I see around me a professional disease of taking everything too seriously. One of my secrets is to joke every time”

– Achille Castiglioni (Feb.16.1918 – December.2.2002)

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Achille Castiglioni ©www.chaplins.co.uk

Achille Castiglioni – The master of industrial products believed in creating easy functional designs and having a minimalist approach towards design. With an architectural degree in the 1930s, he set up a design office with his brothers Livio and Pier Giacomo, where the experiments of design for industrial products took place. 

The famous Italian designer of furniture, lighting, radiograms, and other products had a philosophy-” design demands observation” and that “Good design should last over time until it wears out”. His ideologies and beliefs led to his success and provided society with effortless yet striking designs that are still appreciated and followed. 

Remembering Achille Castiglioni’s deviant lighting works that strive effortlessly in the industrial market to date. His lighting products have been an inspiration for many designers and are perennial as all good designs should be. He designed many products experimenting in his design office that are listed below:

1. Lampadina

The 1972 designed table lamp by Achille Castiglioni provides both direct and diffused light. The name – Lampadina means bulb, and it is evident with one look at this perky design that it is a recreation of a bulb. The table lamp provides direct and diffused light through a partly sandblasted clear globe. 

The sandblasting roughens the partial surface that acts as a diffused coating and ensures light distributes evenly, leaving no sharp shadows. There is an on/off switch for the lamp that is easy to use. The frosted globe design lies on a base of stainless steel anodized by aluminium and wraps the black power cord that makes it look neat. 

This playful design matches the aesthetic of office spaces. Achille Castiglioni had a knack for offering a new perspective on the most humble of objects, and here he plays with the concept of light. 

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Lampadina ©www.flos.com
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Lampadina ©www.flos.com
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Image 4 – Lampadina © www.flos.com

2. Snoopy

The Snoopy table lamp is a playful design highlighting the personalities of the Castiglioni brothers. The inspiration behind this design is the sweet-natured character “Snoopy” by Charles M. Schulz. The original was debuted in 1967 and updated in 2003 with improved technology.

The lamp named after a beloved cartoon character features a distinctive, light-hearted shape. It provides direct light through a thick glass disk and an enamelled metal reflector, resting on a white Carrara’s marble base. There is an ON/OFF dimmer and switch with sensors on the white marble base. 

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Snoopy ©www.flos.com
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Snoopy ©www.flos.com
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Snoopy ©www.flos.com

3. Taccia

The Taccia table lamp designed by the Castiglioni brothers in 1962 challenges the perspective and creates an illusion of an upside-down hanging lamp. The lamp emits indirect and reflective light with the option of spreading it evenly as the blown glass diffuser can adjust the light by changing positions. It has a concave spun-metal reflector with a glossy white finish on the outside and a matte white finish inside. 

The iconic contemporary table lamp’s base is of extruded aluminium. It is also available in an anodized matte black finish or sandblasted finish The inspiration behind this design is to have a minimalist approach towards refurnishing daily use objects.

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Taccia ©www.flos.com
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Taccia ©www.flos.com
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Taccia ©www.flos.com

4. Arco

The 1962 designed floor lamp by Achille Castiglioni and Pier Giacomo is a striking design on its own. The contrast provided in the lamp design is the most outstanding feature that matches the aesthetic of interior spaces. The floor lamp provides direct light bent overhead and an adjustable height feature. A good design solves issues, and this lamp resolves all the confusion of choosing overhead or vertical lamps. 

The satin finish stainless steel telescopic stem defines the refined form and finish. The varnished aluminium height-adjustable reflector on the steel stem rests on a marble base with bevelled corners that are easy to handle.

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Arco ©www.flos.com
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Arco ©www.flos.com
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Arco ©www.flos.com

5. AOY

The 1975 designed AOY table lamp by Achille Castiglioni is a modern table lamp featuring a clear glass cylindrical outer body. A white opal glass diffuser inside the cylinder on the top part of the lamp spreads light evenly and ensures no sharp shadows. 

The lamp is from hand-blown glass, and there is no metal used in the design. Along with making full use of the light, there is an opening in front that shows his love for cats as it provides a warm space for the furry friends to curl in for comfort.

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AOY ©www.flos.com
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AOY ©www.flos.com
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AOY ©www.flos.com

6. Parentesi

The 1971 designed suspension lamp is a unique design by Achille Castiglioni and Pio Manzu. The lamp provides direct light and moves vertically via sliding a steel tube on a ceiling-to-floor steel cable. The steel cable can reach up to 4 meters in height. The sliding steel tube is either painted (black, red) or nickel-plated, and the head fixture made of moulded elastomer houses a switch that is easy to use. 

As the name suggests, the Parentesi is a symbol of parenthesis—a visual reference to the nickel-plated steel tube that lives on a floor-to-ceiling steel cable. The initial idea by Pio Manzu involved a vertical boom and a cylindrical box that went up and down and was to be stopped by screws, though the alterations made it easy to use.

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Parentesi ©www.flos.com
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Parentesi ©www.flos.com
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Parentesi ©www.flos.com

7. Gatto

The Castiglioni brothers designed the Gatto table lamp in 1960. The lamp is created in the famous “cocoon” style providing a glowing diffused light. A white powder coating on the internal steel structure is sprayed with soft resin enabling diffusion. 

The cable attached to it has an electronic dimmer that allows regulation of light brightness. As the name suggests, the lamp is inspired by a cat as it also sits softly on any table, giving a feeling of warmth in the form of distributed light. 

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Gatto ©www.flos.com
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Gatto ©www.flos.com
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Gatto ©www.flos.com

8. Viscontea

The 1960 designed Viscontea suspension lamp by the famous duo provides diffused light. The modern cocoon-like structure in the form of pendant lighting suggests transformation. A white powder coating on the internal steel structure is sprayed with a unique resin to make a diffuser and is further finished with a protective transparent spray. 

This suspension lamp is inspired by the ability to re-imagine everyday things. The famous cocoon imagery shows evolvement and change in the most humble way. The soft diffused light changes everything it touches and is a subtle design with a unique meaning behind it.

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Viscontea ©www.flos.com
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Viscontea ©www.flos.com
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Viscontea ©www.flos.com

9. Frisbi

The 1978 designed suspension lamp by Achille Castiglioni provides three types of illumination: direct, diffused, and reflected light. Its name and outlook come from an iconic toy played at the park, while Castiglioni shows a play of illusion in his design. The extraordinary design is three fine steel cables that suspend the opal acrylic diffuser, giving it a floating appearance. 

A black metal cord and wire mesh basket assembly secure the polished nickel-plated metal reflector painted gloss white inside with the 16-inch power cord. The design of Frisbi blends fantasy with function changing the user perspective.

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Frisbi ©www.flos.com
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Frisbi ©www.flos.com
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Frisbi ©www.flos.com

10. Stylos

First designed by Achille Castiglioni in 1984, Stylos is a floor lamp that provides indirect and diffused light. The opaline extruded diffuser column is attached to the base of silver powder-coated steel. The base is metallic and weighed to prevent toppling. The ON/OFF switches are placed at the two extremities and operated by a pedal mounted on the cable. 

The clean finish of the lamp matches the aesthetic of halls and even pathways. The philosophy “less is more” is seen in the design and the minimal usage of materials illuminates the design while appearing like an ordinary tube.

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Stylos ©www.flos.com
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Stylos ©www.flos.com
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Stylos ©www.flos.com
Author

Shevi Saxena is an ambitious architecture student with a keen eye to learn more every day. She can ponder and research over the smallest occurrence related to architecture any day and write about it. With an eager interest to learn about the history and its implementation today, she believes that architecture should give the comfort back to the users and nature.

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