Who does not know her Componibili for Kartell? Anna Castelli Ferrieri, a designer who went through a century leaving her mark on Italian and international design
Anna Castelli Ferrieri, born in 1918, was one of the first women who graduated in Architecture from Politecnico di Milano. At that time, the word ‘design’ was not used in Italy, but she contributed to the birth of Made in Italy design as a pioneer of industrial design, with aesthetic and functional characteristics.
Milan, ‘her’ city
Today, Milan celebrates her in the new shopping district dedicating the ‘design district’ to her, in the same way as the famous square of the Porta Nuova complex was dedicated to another important designer, Gae Aulenti. Two women are thus placed at the center of modernity, in the most modern city in Italy.
A cult series
Anna Castelli Ferrieri worked with prestigious companies, earning awards and rewards, but her name is indissolubly linked to Kartell (founded by her husband, Giulio Castelli): she designed I Componibili, the iconic round containers that debuted at the Salone del Mobile di Milano in 1967 and are still available both in the original version and the interpretations/tributes dedicated by the company and famous contemporary designers.
The birth of design in her words
Design, to her, who worked in the same studio as Franco Albini and got in touch with other great architects such as Piero Bottoni, Ernesto Nathan Rogers and Ignazio Gardella, meant design and nothing else. “Then we can talk about industrial design or design tout court, which means design of anything, from urban planning to architecture, to industrial design.” She wanted to create everyday objects that could “free people from need and labor”. It was the period of the discovery of plastic materials: “Every year a new material entered the Italian market and we studied with enthusiasm the possibilities offered by the new material…”
A protagonist of the 20th century
Anna Castelli Ferrieri died in 2006, after a long life and carrier – during which she also taught industrial design – characterized by objects and a way of considering design that left a deep mark on the world of design, until nowadays, also on the international level.
Based on “Design Stories – Anna Castelli Ferrieri Tribute” by Laura Galimberti, Design Diffusion News n. 237, March 2018