The Italian designer and architect Pier Giacomo Castiglioni is the second of the
three Castiglioni brothers. Like his brothers, Pier Giacomo Castiglioni studied
architecture at Milan Polytechnic, taking his degree in 1937. In 1938 Pier Giacomo
Castiglioni and his elder brother, Livio, founded a practice in Milan, which the
youngest brother, Achille, joined in 1944. All three Castiglioni brothers were
interested in both technology and art. Livio left the joint practice in 1952 to
go his own way. Pier Giacomo Castiglioni is regarded as the intellectual equal
of his brother Achille. Until his untimely death in 1968, Pier Giacomo collaborated
with Achille on numerous designer objects. In 1957 the exhibition "Colori
e forme nella casa d'oggi" (Colors and Forms in Today's Home) was mounted
at the Villa Olmo in Como, where Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni annoyed
specialists with their vision of a modern lifestyle because what they showed was
a colorful jumble of styles that incorporated old and new furnishings instead
of uniformly styled interiors. Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni showed many
of their designs, including for the first time their "readymades". "Mezzadro",
a stool consisting of a tractor seat mounted on a substructure and "Sella",
a telephone stool with a bicycle saddle as a seat were not made until many years
later, by Zanotta. The two brothers were particularly successful with the lighting
they designed for Arredoluce, Flos, and Artemide. They playfully explored new
possibilities for form, linking technical innovation and Minimalist economy of
means to produce highly functional objects which were just as aesthetically satisfying
as they were practical. In 1955 the Castiglionis designed "Luminator"
for Arredoluce; their "Taraxacum" hanging lamp dates from 1960 and the
hanging lamp "Splügen Bräu" for Flos was launched in 1961.
Another Castiglioni design for Flos was the 1962 die lamp "Arco", which
links the qualities of floor and hanging lamps. The Castiglioni brothers not only
exerted a strong influence on the younger generation of Italian designers. Pier
Giacomo Castiglioni taught design at Milan Polytechnic from 1946 until his death.
Achille Castiglioni also taught interior decoration and industrial design there
from 1982 until 1986 and was a professor of industrial design at Turin Polytechnic
from 1970 until 1980. The Museum of Modern Art collection owns many works by Achille
and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni.