Daughter of Italian design master Achille Castiglioni, Giovanna Castiglioni was born in Milan in 1972 and graduated from university with a degree in Geological Sciences. Subsequently, she decided to dedicate herself to the management of the studio and design legacy of her legendary father. Since 2005, Giovanna has been the Curator of the Studio Museum of Achille Castiglioni and in 2012 was appointed Vice President and General Secretary of the Achille Castiglioni Foundation. Today, she organizes and coordinates the activities of the Foundation, especially the archiving of its unique cultural heritage. Giovanna shares and promotes the ‘Castiglioni Method’ of design to a wide and diverse public drawn from across the world. She also hosts conferences and holds worldwide workshops for the Foundation with a style built on creating a dynamic interaction with her audiences.
In addition, and with a select team of young designers, Giovanna creates a variety of experiential exhibitions to ensure that the Studio Museum in Piazza Castello 27, Milan always remains a stimulating and interactive destination. In collaboration with Italian designer Marco Marzini, she curates and performs in the show ‘A Casa Castiglioni’, first presented at the AbitaMI fair in 2011 and at other venues thereafter. She is also curator of the project ‘100×100 Achille’ organized in association with design journalist Chiara Alessi and leading art and design author Domitilla Dardi. The project presents a collection of more than 100 anonymous objects given away for the centenary celebration of the birth of Achille Castiglioni by a group of over 100 leading international designers.
In 2020 she started a collaboration with IED to develop a thesis with the students to bring the Foundation/Museum outside possibly in other place in the city, courtyards, and squares. Since 2008, Giovanna has been a lecturer at the Politecnico of Milan School of Design and since 2016, a principal teacher of a workshop entitled ‘Master Lighting Design & Led Technology’. Giovanna has also taught and lectured at Scuola Politecnica of Design SPD and Domus Academy in Milan.
In 2022 she will be invited as speaker at the Design Strategic Master and Creative Direction with Vince Castellana (Abadir Professor), Francesco Zurlo (Ph.D., is Deputy Dean of the School of Design of Politecnico of Milan and President of POLI.design) and Luciano Galimberti (President in ADI and ADI Design Museum).
In 2022 she will lead together with Michela Dezzani (researcher, teacher, and trainer of the Bruno Munari Method) a series of experimentation workshops entitled “Vietato saper disegnare” (It is forbidden to know how to draw). This workshop represents an opportunity to learn more about the history of writing through a large collection of drawing tools that allows young and old people to try out the shapes of graphite and leave enough time for creativity. And many other workshops are in working progress!
She is the author of a series of flipbooks entitled ‘Castiglioni in 2 seconds’, the first three editions being on the subjects of Achille Castiglioni’s Lampadina lamp created for Flos in 1972, his Basello side table designed for Zanotta in 1987 and the RR126 stereo HI-FI designed for Brionvega in 1965. This year she presented another two flipbooks dedicated to Parentesi lamp (1972-2021) with its new edition and Dry cutlery set and many other objects for Alessi. She is also the curator of the exhibition “Castiglioni in 2 sec.” held between 2020 and 2021 at the Sozzani Gallery in Corso Como 10 in Milan with the exhibition of part of her collection of objects related to Sara Vivan’s illustrations featured in their flipbooks.
During the pandemic period she strongly developed a communication program to keep the attention alive on the Achille Castiglioni Foundation with interactive remote e-learning and many live-video on or through our Instagram profile.
Despite these many activities and commitments, Giovanna says that she still doesn’t know what she’ll do when she grows up!
Instagram: @fondazioneachillecastiglioni @castiglionigiovi
Photo credit: Annette Cheung