Architect, Designer, Art Director, Anna Castelli Ferrieri

28 Jan

We here at Mimomito love husband and wife design duos. Rose has done write-ups of Hans and Florence Knoll, and Charles and Ray Eames, so let’s throw my blurb on the pile!

Anna Castelli Ferrieri is most famously known for her design of the Componibili modular system, a signature piece of the Kartell collection of injection-molded plastic household furniture. I love compact compartmentalized furniture, and the Componibili created in 1969 is still available for purchase today for considerably cheap! ($41.00 Componibili on Kartell)


Giulio Castelli, a chemical engineer, co-founded Italian design firm Kartell in 1949. In 1966, Kartell had young Anna to design the Kartell Headquarters in Binasco. They were a match made in design heaven! Anna co-founded a handful of design associations in Italy, as well as being the Editor of Italian magazine Casabella Costruzioni, and being the Italian correspondent for British magazine Architectural Design. She certainly was a prolific little busy-bee. There are different articles which say they were wed after her design of the Kartell Headquarters, and some articles say they were a married couple that Co-founded Kartell. It seems a bit wishy-washy as to what the actual turn of events were. Whichever came first, the union or the company, some incredible things came about.

Both born in Milan, Anna and Giulio trained under some incredible pioneers of their time. Giulio trained as a chemical engineer under the Nobel Prize–winning chemist Giulio Natta. Anna was one of the first women to graduate from Milan Polytechnic Institute in 1943 with an Architecture degree. She spent a short stint in Paris with Le Corbusier, but returned to Italy to study with architect Franco Albini. In 1949, Kartell popped into existence and started manufacturing car accessories, but really came into bloom with the experimentation of plastics to create household furniture. Kartell pioneered the Italian modern design of the 60’s through the 80’s and continues today.

In the late 60’s and beyond, Anna continued to experiment and design with plastics. Above is Anna’s domed containers designed in 1973.

“For the “4822/44″ stool Anna Castelli Ferrieri designed in 1979, a metal alloy with polyurethane was used for the first time, creating enough stability for seat furniture to have longer legs.” via Kartell.  Shown above is Anna’s stool model #483.

Anna’s 1982 creation, the Revolving Library model 3610. “Solid steel base on top of which rotates a 4 story structure composed of square tops. Red and black elements can be arranged in numerous ways.” via Design Addict

“Her work as an architect is best represented by the Kartell headquarters, with its brilliant red blocks visible from the highway just outside Milan, which she designed in collaboration with Ignazio Gardella.” via New York Times

Anna’s designs still on display.Kartell still experimenting and designing beautiful objects with plastic.

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2 Responses to “Architect, Designer, Art Director, Anna Castelli Ferrieri”

  1. hannah January 30, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    this is amazing info! thank you for sharing all that! I happened to come across some chairs awhile back that are labeled Castelli made in Italy, and found not too much info about them! they are very well made and amazing….steel bases and wood seats. Now I know a bit more about the designer :)

    • Serene January 31, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

      I’m glad you enjoyed it!
      I have found Kartell trash cans that say “Castelli” on the bottom, and was mildly curious but thought nothing of it. Little did I know Anna Ferrieri Castelli was such an incredible woman!

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