Antonio Citterio: Striking the Perfect Balance Between Needs and Wants
2nd Feb 2016
“I make things for myself, I don’t work with marketing instructions...if I won’t surround myself with these things, I don’t make them. Don’t force it, if it doesn’t work, don’t do it. You can’t whip the cream? It doesn’t matter!”
With an illustrious list of products and designs to his credit, the aforementioned quote reflects designer Antonio Citterio’s honesty, candor and approach towards creating objects. Uncompromising in terms of his creative vision, the Italian architect and designer is one of the first names that comes to your mind when talking about design.
Born in Meda, Italy, in 1950, Citterio discovered his inner creative streak very early in his life. The fact that he had established his own industrial design studio at the age of 22 years bears testament to this self-realization. The designer went on to acquire his degree in architecture from Politecnico di Milano in 1975.
By 1981, Antonio Citterio was taking charge of full-blown architectural projects. His meteoric rise as a successful architect and one of the most sought-after industrial designers across the globe is reflected in the wide range of clients and companies that he has worked with. Between 1987 and 1996, he worked in association with Terry Dawn to design several buildings in Japan and across Europe.
Come 1999, Citterio formed another company along with Patricia Viel – an enterprise called Antonio Citterio and Partners. This establishment was envisaged as a multidisciplinary office for architecture, industrial design and graphics. The company continues to work on commercial, residential as well as industrial projects in addition to planning the restructuring and conservation of public buildings. The studio also undertakes interior design projects for commercial spaces such as hotels, offices and showrooms. The Bulgari chain of hotels is just one of the many luxury property projects that Citterio’s name is associated with.
Collaboration with Top Design Brands
From furniture, interior décor, architecture and bathroom fittings to lighting design – there is hardly any stone that the genius has left unturned in terms of design in the broader sense. He has a massive number of bestselling designs that he has created for Italian as well as global brands, including the likes of:
FLOS, Vitra, B&B Italia, Inda, Guzzini, Aubrilam, Ansorg, Fusital, Simon Urmet, Flexform, Technogym, Maxalto, Kartell, Tre Più, Arclinea and Axor/Hansgrohe.
Chic, and urban Antonio Citterio’s designs have captured the imagination of not just the industry, but also the entire world. While he dons several hats, Antonio Citterio insists that he is an architect, first and foremost.
Antonio Citterio and FLOS – A Match Made in Heaven
One of his career highlights has been his partnership with Taon Nguyen, with whom he has crafted a number of iconic lamps and lighting fixtures for FLOS. His lighting designs symbolize his belief in finding the perfect balance between a “want” and a “need.”
Awards and Recognition
Designer Antonio Citterio has won countless awards for his projects and his contribution to the industry. A few important honors:
- Compasso d’Oro (1987, 1995)
- Honorary Royal Designer for Industry title bestowed by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce, London (2008)
- Artusi Prize (2017)
- Elle Deco International Design Awards (2019)
Antonio Citterio’s lighting designs are included in permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Centre Georges-Pompidou, Paris.
Inspiration – Finding Spark in the Routine
While all his designs are stylish to say the least, he avoids using that word himself. In terms of stimulus, Citterio is inspired by everyday life. What is so special about him is the fact that by merely observing the objects and people around him, he is able to draw meaning from them and translate it into his creations. It is this simplicity, humility and quest for authentic work that draws clients from across continents to him.
By his own admission, he isn’t satisfied by simply producing stunning designs. He wishes to pass on his wisdom and expertise to the next generation of designers and architects, which he is attempting to do through his position as a lecturer at the Academy of Architecture in Switzerland. Antonio has also taught at the Domus Academy in Milan and Royal College of London, and served as docent at La Sapienza University in Rome and Università della Svizzera Italiana.
His contribution to the world of architecture and design are his timeless designs. Learn more about the virtuoso and explore his lighting products for FLOS here.