De Padova presents “A Casa Castiglioni”

De Padova presents “A Casa Castiglioni”

“The Castiglioni House“A place for everything and everything in its place”,  prepared by Giovanna Castiglioni and Marco Marzini for the Studio Museo Achille Castiglioni.

De Padova supported the Studio Museo Achille Castiglioni, in presenting an exhibition and research project entitled “A Casa Castiglioni”,which was held during the International Fair of the Home ( Macef ) from the 8th to the 11th of September, 2011 in Milan.


“A Casa Castiglioni” was set up like a real Castiglioni home – where every object finds its own place because it was designed for a specific function.  The installation highlighted how the Castiglioni designs had to satisfy the working requirements of daily life, adapting themselves to the inhabited space that evolves over time.


In addition to the exhibition above, on the 7th and 8th of October, in dedication to the strong relationship between De Padova and Studio Museo Achille Castiglioni ( through products and showroom display window styling ) De Padova presented an exclusive event in their Rome showroom.

A performance by Giovanna Castiglioni and Marco Marzini, carried out  scenes of daily life, in which they interacted with the objects and the visitors.  Giovanna and Marco narrated in a dynamic, interactive way, some of the pieces that have made design history.

The simple, dynamic and interactive scenografia tells gives some close icone that they have made the history of the Italian design and places the objects “to the just place… as if always they had existed near the other”.


Castiglioni, one of Italy’s most respected design talents, had an outstanding career spanning almost 60 years and left a large legacy of exceptional products when he died in 2002. A long-term collaborator with Maddalena De Padova, he created the allestimento or display and windows for her Milan flagship store yet he designed just three products for the brand’s collection.


The design pieces created by Achille Castiglioni for De Padova included in the installation are the Scrittarello, a masterpiece of lightness, and the complements Mate and Mini-Mate, a synthesis of simplicity.

Scrittarello – a small writing desk made of beech plywood with a white laminate top and solid beech legs.

Mate – A table, a tray, a footrest. A discreet companion next to an armchair or a sofa. Achille Castiglioni plays and draws a summary of simplicity. Easy to move it around. Seated on the sofa, tray on legs, feet resting on the belting. But also beside the bed, as a nightstand.

Marco Zarini & Giovanna Castiglioni

It might sound strange to talk about Achille Castiglioni today when the orchestra of design seems to be playing a different, very catchy but complex tune; it seems strange to talk about Castiglioni in a period when the project/object must increasingly create “bella figura” or “be giving a good impression of itself”, on show in a museum, untouchable… Castiglioni designed for real life – the simple everyday life.

That is why we have decided to set up the space like a real furnished dwelling, more to be lived in than to be admired, in which each object has a precise place because it has been designed for that specific function.

We could not have thought of a simpler set up; it was already there, ready. The dream of being able to live in a space inhabited by Castiglioni’s objects which dialogue continuously with the past, the present and the future.


The objects in just the right place… as if they had always existed, one next to the other…in a liveable, simple, dynamic and interactive set up which tells us, from close up, about some of the objects which have created the history of Italian design.

The Castiglioni projects were conceived to exist and be utilised in the most immediate way, adapting themselves to a living space which evolves over time.

The set up is therefore designed like a theatre in which scenes of everyday life take place, where the actors are ready to interact in the first person with the objects and visitors. In this way, the objects are moved around to re-organise the space available, according to the most diverse needs, so that the project follows the demands of the user and not the reverse.

The form-function of the objects tells of their correct placing in the domestic environment, individually designed on each occasion. The workshop set up is therefore intended to tell, in the most immediate way, how design according to the Castiglioni should firstly satisfy the functional requirements of everyday life. In this way it will be possible to bring projects back to life in a continuous cycle, without a predefined style or period.

So feel free to enter “Castiglioni’s House”, putting your curiosity to the test, perhaps even re-awakening it, asking yourself questions which we will try to answer together, going into intimate detail of the why of some design solutions.

Designing is exactly this: supplying answers to problems

This is an excellent opportunity to see the interaction of different objects-projects by Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, or by Achille with other collaborators, created over a long span of time. In the same exhibition space visitors can observe objects that are no longer in production, prototypes and projects created with leading historic firms with which the Castiglioni brothers worked.


Villa Olmo in 1957


The long friendship between De Padova and Achille Castiglioni consolidated in the mid-1980s, when Maddalena De Padova decided to work with Vico Magistretti and Achille Castiglioni. Extraordinary, unique products were created, which had a strong impact on the identity of the company and the De Padova brand in Italy and abroad.

achille at depadova showroom 1964

But De Padova’s relationship with Achille Castiglioni was not limited to product design: he also created window displays and exhibit designs for the company over the years.These works embodied an ironic, playful way of looking at the world, a contagious curiosity whose secret is still nurtured today by De Padova.

maddalena depadova on a castiglioni chair prototype




About Achille Castigliani

Achille Castiglioni was born in Milan in 1918 and graduated in Architecture at the Politecnico di Milano University in 1944

Since 1940 he had dedicated himself to experimenting on industrial products with his brothers Livio ((1911-1979) and Pier Giacomo (1913-1968). Their interests were directed towards Urban Planning, Architecture and Design; they performed analysis and research on new forms, techniques and materials, aimed at developing a process of “integral design”.

In 1956, Castiglioni founded the Associazione per il Disegno Industriale (Association for Industrial Design, ADI)
Castiglioni taught for many years, first at the Politecnico di Torino.

In 1969 and later he led a class in Industrial Design at the faculty of Architecture at Politecnico di Milano, teaching several thousand students.

Castiglioni has exhibited his designs at every Milan Triennial since 1947 and has received seven Compasso d’Oro awards. Most of Castilglioni’s products are design classics and are still in production under licence. The Museum of Modern Art has some of his most important designs in its permanent collection.

The professional partnership by Achille Castiglioni, Livio Castiglioni and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni has been called the “Castiglioni brothers”, which Livio left in 1952. This group has become one of the most witty, elegant and innovative partnerships in modern design.

The brothers worked from the viewpoint that design must restructure an object’s function, form and production process, and applied this maxim to every work that they produced.

Castiglioni described this process with these words: “Start from scratch. Stick to common sense. Know your goals and means”.

Castiglioni design philosophy can best be perceived if we also consider the cultural environment from which he was influenced and that he helped to form in turn. Along with his unquestionable talent, Castiglioni -like other contemporary designers/architects as Marco Zanuso or Ettore Sottsass- gain the advantage of the italian tradition in fine arts and craftsmanship to create products to restore the country’s quality of life after the World War II; the mix of all these elements made Castiglioni’s works and italian design internationally appreciated contributing to the 1950s economic boom.

While being a successful designer, Castiglioni was also a teacher at the Industrial Design course of the Architectural School of the Polytechnic of Milan where he could educate tens of students to his design philosophy.

Using everyday objects from his enormous collection, Castiglioni demonstrated the power of simple, ingeniousness and seemingly unremarkable common objects. A significant example is the milking stool consisting of a round piece of Wood as a seat with a round incision into which fit the single wooden leg. Both parts were held together by a strip of leather, so hat the stool could be carried over the shoulder.

Castiglioni, standing on a table, milked an invisible cow miming the stool’s use proving how objects have a life of their own and are independent of any designer’s name. He also wanted to stimulate his students to explore the design and its potentials themselves starting from objects based on common sense and available resources. “What you need is a constant and consistent way of designing, not a style.”

Castiglioni used to say to the students. His way was based on observing and understanding objects imagining need results in a satisfying design solution and that’s why he become one of the masters of the italian mid-century design.

Achille Castiglioni designs influenced the interior decors of the mid century homes.

His professional activities spanned throughout the fields of Architecture and Urban Planning; he earned international recognitions for his projects applied to serial production in the fields of lighting fixtures and furniture as well as for his breathtaking installations realized around the world.

Achille Castiglioni died in Milan on December 2, 2002

Achille Castiglioni was born in 1918 and during his career he contributed to design, or designed himself, more than 150 objects: from lamps to car seats. Many of his designs -like the Arco and the Brera lamps- are part of the permanent collections of several museums as examples of the iconic italian mid-century design

Everyday objects’ observation was often the starting point for his designs: “Design demands observation” was one of his mottoes. For example, to design the Arco lamp Achille and Pier Giacomo took inspiration by street lamps. The light source, in fact, is projected at least eight feet away from the marble base as it was coming from a normal ceiling chandelier. For the Toio lamp, instead, the inspiration was a car reflector.

Very many objects designed by Achille Castiglioni have been produced by remarkable companies such as: Aerotecnica Italiana, Alessi, Aura, Brionvega, Bernini, B&B Italia, BBB Bonacina, Cedit, Cimbali, Danese, De Padova, Driade, Feg, Flos, Fusital, Cassina, Gavina, Ideal Standard, Italtel, Il Coccio Umidificatori, Interflex, Lancia Auto, Longoni, Marcatrè, Moroso, Nagano, Olivetti Synthesis, Omsa, Ortotecnica, Phonola Radio, Poltrona Frau, Poggi, Phoebus Alter, Perani Fonderie, Rem, San Giorgio elettrodomestici, Teorema, Kartell, Up & Up, VLM, Zanotta.

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