Pier Giacomo Castiglioni

articolo dino buzzati corriere della sera

28 March 2013

Pier Giacomo Castiglioni
Centenary of an eclectic spirit


Certain figures from our years of study make a particular, lasting impression on the soul and mind. They become paradigms through which we interpret the world of culture for the rest of our lives.
Personally, I feel my roots lie in the wonderful environment of my secondary school, the Zucchi liceo ginnasio in Monza, particularly my Greek language classes with Ignazio Cazzaniga. However, I must also acknowledge meeting the architect Ernesto Rogers of the BBPR studio, a friend of my husband Guido, as well as some greatly stimulating experiences during the war in Valtellina, in Sondrio, where my father died. It was through him that I met the architect Tommaso Buzzi, from Valtellina, who later taught me drawing during my two-year preparatory period at the Faculty of Architecture of the Polytechnic of Milan, while Piero Portaluppi was dean there. Then, after a few years and my experience at the Dubini and Pirelli studios under the architect Gigi Caccia Dominioni, milestones for those in the world of architecture, the Castiglioni brothers, Pier Giacomo and Achille, began making their mark on the culture of architecture. I consider them fundamental influences on my design training, along with that melting pot of ideas and enthusiasm that was ADI. I was a member of the ADI Mostre working group.
In pursuing an artistic path, the brothers were in fact following in the footsteps of their father Giannino, an accomplished sculptor, medal maker and, later, painter. However both were attracted to the world of “applied art”, as design was called then, where they focused their extraordinary creativity, supported by a well-established culture.

Although the untimely death of Pier Giacomo prevented me from knowing him better, one thing I found exceptional about him was his relationship with material, which he treated in space with the light yet confident elegance of a certain kind of graphic expression, derived from a refined culture and a clear sensibility, that set formal novelty to the rhythm of classical values.
In his work, as in that of his brother and of the brothers as a team, material is no less essential to the character of the object than form.
I also like to remember a very human and meaningful detail of a complete personality, namely the particular and patient kindness with which Pier Giacomo Castiglioni attempted to transmit the principles of the discipline to a young beginner who still had everything to learn before she could make the subject her own: yes, I believe that my activity as a designer and the way I approach my work are the result of a profound approach that became a conceptual culture through the good fortune of having benefited from the knowledge, guidance and example of Pier Giacomo and Achille Castiglioni.

Carla Venosta