FLOS, 9 Corso Monforte, Milan
For the duration of the Salone del Mobile 2018
Window display and re-editions commemorating the centenary of Achille Castiglioni’s birth
Display: Calvi Brambilla
In collaboration with the Achille Castiglioni Foundation
Achille Castiglioni was not merely one of the great geniuses of Italian design, he was also a man endowed with a powerful gift for communication, and a physiognomy and an attitude without equal: a cigarette always in the corner of his mouth (or lit between his fingers), his large hands on his hips, and a slight stoop, when “under observation” in his later years. The photographer Luciano Soave immortalised him thus in a famous portrait series for his solo exhibition in Vienna, in 1984 (and mounted by Pierluigi Cerri in a matchless poster). This is how those of us lucky enough to have known him remember him.
Those images and the habit that Achille acquired early on of cutting them up and using a “tiny version of himself” (which he referred to as “Achillino”) as an indicator of scale, an irreverent Modulor for the display maquettes, triggered the sophisticated design for the window display conceived by Fabio Calvi and Paolo Brambilla: a hive composed of small paralleliped boxes (rather like a high-density architectural settlement) enlivened by Achille himself in a variety of sceptical, interrogatory, doubtful and assertive poses in front of the lamps, which he designed with his unforgettable brother Pier Giacomo, until 1968, and then alone, for Flos, naturally.
Again, inspired by an unpredictable yet typical move of Achille’s, the second Flos 2018 homage consists of a re-edition of the Ventosa lamp: quite simply a lamp equipped with a suction cup, developed in 1962 to illuminate a window display, one of the paradigmatic objects that Castiglioni used during his conferences: he would suddenly pull it out of a cardboard box full of treasures at his feet, and then stick it firmly onto his forehead, by means of the suction cup, instantly turning himself into a miner from a bygone era, or into a “man of light” (which he really was!).