Designers

Antonio Citterio: Balancing Need and Want with Design

Antonio Citterio

"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!"

That’s what Italian architect and furniture & industrial designer Antonio Citterio said was the secret behind his many bestselling designs in an interview with Designboom.

Born in the Italian city of Meda in 1950, this designer-par-excellence has been producing items ranging from furniture, light fixtures and bathroom fittings to entire buildings that have captured the imagination of the industry.

His meteoric rise as a successful architect and one of the most sought-after industrial designers in the world is clear from the illustrious list of clients he works with. Many Italian and international design brands including Vitra, B&B Italia, Ansorg, Arclinea, Axor/Hansgrohe, Aubrilam, Flexform, Fusital, Guzzini, Iittala, Inda, Kartell, Maxalto, Sanitec Group/Pozzi Ginori, Simon Urmet, Technogym, Tre Più, and FLOS have been selling his chic urban designs for years.

Clessidra wall sconce in living room

Clessidra wall sconce is an up/down light

It is a telling remark on the man's raw talent and business acumen that he opened his first design studio focused on industrial design in 1972 at the young age of 22 even before he had graduated. He went on to complete his degree in architecture at Milan’s Politecnico di Milano in 1975.

By 1981, he was designing full-blown architectural projects. Between 1987 and 1996, he collaborated with Terry Dawn to design many buildings across Europe and Japan. Citterio, along with Patricia Viel, formed another company called 'Antonio Citterio and Partners' in 1999.

This was envisaged as a multidisciplinary office for architecture, industrial design and graphics, and continues to undertake projects for residential, commercial and industrial spaces in addition to planning the restructuring and conservation of public buildings.

Kelvin LED table lamp and Kelvin LED F floor lamp

The best-selling Kelvin LED

The studio also undertakes interior design projects for offices, showrooms and hotels. In fact, Citterio has been associated with numerous luxury properties the world over including the highly-acclaimed Bulgari chain of hotels.

Over the years, many awards and honors have been bestowed on him for his work including the prestigious Compasso d'Oro in 1987 and 1995. He was also given the title of 'Royal Designer' by the British Royal Society for his Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce of London.

The designer is not just satisfied producing timeless designs, but wants to pass on his expertise to the future generation of designers, which he is attempting to do through his position as a lecturer at the Academy of Architecture in Switzerland.

Belvedere outdoor lighting

Belevedere outdoor lighting

Father of two and boss to nearly 50 employees, Antonio Citterio insists that he is an architect, first and foremost. He avoids using the word "style" and draws his inspiration from everyday life. It is this humility, simplicity and his quest for authentic work that draws clients from across continents to him.