06 February 2020
Supported by the Italian Embassy in South Korea and promoted, amongst others, by the Italian Cultural Institute in Seoul, and in collaboration with the Achille Castiglioni Foundation*, this exhibition has an impressive pedigree. Curated and designed by the ever-meticulous Ico Migliore and Mara Servetto (Migliore + Servetto Architects) - with graphic design by the architect Italo Lupi. Migliore and Servetto studied under Castiglioni at the Turin Polytechnic and then went on to work with him at the Milan Polytechnic University, sharing and then developing his design vision. The curators had this to say: “Achille believed that there were no large or small projects, the same approach applied to every single one, and that, always and in any case, what mattered was the project in its own right. He said […] there are no rules, rather a method that caters for emerging needs, case by case, answers to the whys and wherefores and alterations right up to the very last minute.’ That way he was teaching us to apply the same degree of seriousness and passion to every single project, regardless of size or typology, starting from the same, fundamental point: people. People have always been the reason, the cause and the effect of all Castiglioni’s work, from the way an object is used or the observers of those who use it, the extent of the design for a space or those moving around inside it.”
The exhibition spans a 58-year career, 67 awards and more than 1,000 industrial design, display and architectural projects carried out by Achille and his brothers Livio and Pier Giacomo. It examines the more private, intimate and familial aspects against the backdrop of a continuously-evolving society, the cultural scene in Italy, and especially the Milanese context in which they worked. What clearly emerges is the originality of their design vision, applied equally to design pieces and installations, based first and foremost on the creative process and on research, starting by simply observing and studying user behaviours, shunning preconceived ideas both about the object itself and about its function. Their hallmark does not hinge on any particular “style” and their objects do not feature repeated shapes, specific personal cyphers – rationality is what makes every single object coherent, and cohesive with the next, the most appropriate solution channelled into every single piece.
Ready-made, form-function, unexpected changes of scale, visitor-centred experiences, the generative effect of light and the environmental role of graphics are just some of the applications of this process, presented to visitors through a collection of objects, videos and images ranging from industrial to interior design.
The stars of the show, obviously, are many of the icons that made the Castiglioni brothers famous worldwide – from the legendary Mezzadro, Sella and Allunaggio seat/stools for Zanotta, to the equally famous Arco and Snoopy lamps for Flos and furnishing accessories for Alessi.
An exhibition within an exhibition, Steven Guarnaccia’s graphics provide an ironic key to the creative process that has informed the pieces on display. There is also an affectionate homage to Achille from graphic designers famous the world over - Woods of Posters is a kaleidoscopic collection of posters by Pierluigi Cerri, Leonardo Sonnoli, Heinz Waibl, Jannuzzi Smith, Milton Glaser, Emiliano Ponzi, Guido Scarabottolo, Ico Migliore, Mara Servetto and Italo Lupi, brought together for an exhibition on Achille Castiglioni’s installations, again produced by Migliore+Servetto at the m.a.x. museum in Chiasso in 2018. 10 new posters by DooSup KIM, Insu LEE, Jaewon SEOK, Kum-jun PARK, Byoungjin AHN, Myungsang YU, Sang-soo AHN, Byung-hak AHN, Yoon-seok YOO and Everyday Practice have been added to these. The exhibition ends with an exclusive documentary on Achille Castiglioni made by the filmmaker Paik Young-wook and Kim Sangwoo Kim.
Hangaram Art Museum
Seoul Arts Center (SAC)
Until 26th April 2020
*See the Foundations Section of the Magazine