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Design And Italian touch at The Achille Castiglioni Foundation

Giovanna Castiglioni, Vice President of the Achille Castiglioni Foundation, has dedicated herself to the preservation of her late father Achille’s studio since 2005. Alongside the activities of the foundation, Giovanna shares the story of Castiglioni’s way of design and offers us an insight about what the Italian Studio is all about.

Interviewing Giovanna was really interesting, I see her as an artist, full of life, who learnt from her late father one of life’s secret ingredients to happiness: Be open, enjoy the moment and make the most of what makes you feel good. An important figure and wise man, who passed his joy for life to his daughter.

Gionanna, is this your first time in Dubai?

Yes it is but as I’m very curious, I studied a lot about Dubai before coming down. I’m really open to travelling, discovering and embracing new cultures; I guess I’m not the usual Italian stereotype.
You graduated in Geological Sciences but decided to dedicate yourself to the Achille studio – Why did you choose to follow your father’s footsteps when your career could have been otherwise?
Before he passed away, my father never asked me to keep his studio alive. He wanted me to do whatever I felt passionate about. My father very much enjoyed his life and I have learnt from him to always be curious, faithful and open to new cultures. I opened the studio to the public only a few years ago and got started on this new venture from scratch. Geology was just a small part of my life, managing the studio made me feel accomplished. It is also a great privilege to finish off what my dad started years ago.
How does people talking about your late father makes you feel?
My father was a very modern man, back then there wasn’t such thing as social media, nevertheless, he was always one step ahead of people, a real avant-gardiste. My father was indeed an important figure but above all, he was so very humble and simple. He designed various items from watches to lamps passing by furniture and also loved designing multifunctional items. Experimenting was his motto.
My late father set the standards high and it is challenging to try and reach that level of popularity but I’m convinced that if you are curious enough and passionate about what you are doing, sky is the limit when it comes to creativity, especially nowadays with all sources of information available at our fingerprints.
Why is protecting and promoting the Achille Castiglioni Foundation so important to you?
I’m eager to protect the place my dad had given 40 years of his life to, that’s why we are constantly on the lookout for sponsors to help us preserve the place and carry on the projects. In the meantime, it is an honor to be the daughter of such an important figure that’s why it felt only natural for me to carry on my father’s work.
What’s a typical day at the Foundation like for you?
I usually like to organise some show-around to new visitors in the morning and spend the afternoon working at the archive department. I also feel so fortunate to be able to work with my brother as I’m a geologist and he is a doctor and since we both have very creative minds, we love to exchange ideas, knowledge and experiences.
Throughout the day, I always find time to walk my dog and usually finish off my day in bed with a nice book.
Would you say you are more of a hands-on person or would you rather delegate?
I love to be part of the team and help as much as I can but I think that it is good to delegate and share knowledge and experience. If somebody can fulfill any duties better than me, I’d be happy for the person to undertake the task instead.
You’re regularly teaming up with new designers and artists – Why is that?
We really want our visitors to find inspiration and the right information they’d need, so by regularly teaming up with new creative minds, we offer them the opportunity to exchange knowledge, share experiences and learn from each other. It is also a good way to stay innovative and keep the place exciting for our new and also regular visitors.
Next year, you’ll be coordinating the Master “Design for food” at the Instituto d’Arte Applicata e Design (IAAD) in Turin – Can you tell us more about this exciting new project of yours?
“Design for food” is a project about design and food – The objective is to come up with original designs around food: From lights, to cutlery, passing by pans or tables. Every single piece will offer intricate designs with an Italian touch.
The project was first presented in Turin, the Instituto d’Arte Applicata e Design (IAAD) loved it and offered us to take it to the Universal Expo 2015 in Milano. That’s such an amazing opportunity for us, we feel very honored to be part of it.
Who is your favorite fashion designer?
The anonymous ones, who design beautiful pieces, do not wish any kind of exposure and are in the shadow of their creations.
For more information about the foundation, please visit Foundazion Achille Castiglioni
Semia Azaiz, Editor in Chief, Luxsure Dubai

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