Antonio Citterio: The Gentleman of Design
The prolific Italian designer, Antonio Citterio is known for his work as an architect, interior space planner and industrial designer. He has worked on a variety of projects, both large and small, all over the world. A focus on simplicity and functionality characterizes his designs.
Antonio Citterio, nicknamed the "Gentleman of Design, was born in 1950 in Meda, a small town near Milan. Drawing Inspiration from notable designers such as Charles and Ray Eames as well as Eileen Gray, he began his career as an architect and designer in 1972. After studying architecture and graduating from the Polytechnic University of Milan in 1975, Citterio has worked for some of Italy's most prestigious design firms such as Ansorg, Arclinea and Vitra, B&B Italia, Flexform, Flos, Hansgrohe, Iittala, Inda, Kartell, Sanitec Group, and more.
The 1950’s post-war era was a landmark time for furniture artisans perfecting their craft. In a 2019 quote by Citterio, he notes how artisans such as these made Meda their home, how he was able to learn from them, and how this influenced him as a designer. He further pulled, and still does today, inspiration from observing the goings-on around him and using that to be the driving force in the pieces he creates- pieces that are purposeful, simple, and elegant.
In 1972, he established his own studio, which is recognized today as one of the leading design practices in the world. His uncompromising eye and pursuit of quality design have placed his work consistently at the forefront of modern design.
Citterio is well known for working with B&B Italia since 1978, and they are an ideal match. His work exemplifies the same spirit of creativity, experimentation, timeless modern design, and unsurpassed quality B&B Italia has been known for since its beginning.
In 1987, his design for the Sity sofa won B&B Italia the coveted Compasso D’Oro award, which he won again in 1994. Among his designs is the Charles Sofa. Designed in 1997, it has been the company’s top-selling product across all categories for over 20 years. In addition to furniture, he designed B&B Italia’s showrooms in Milan, New York, and Novedrate, and oversees the company’s sister brand Maxalto where he shows his breadth in working with woods, metal, and upholstery.
Since 2006, Citterio has been a professor at the Academy of Architecture at the University of Mendrisio in Switzerland and running his two offices in Milan and Hamburg.
Citterio currently lives and works in Milan.
Clean lines and a minimalist aesthetic characterize Citterio's style. His work is often described as "functionalism with a human touch," as he believes that good design should be both functional and user-friendly. Citterio’s work demonstrates a deep understanding of the manufacturing process and meticulous attention to detail.
His impressive resume reflects the Italian designer as a Renaissance man. In addition to furniture, he is an award-winning architect and designs lighting, kitchen and bath fixtures, home products, glassware, and even corporate communications for office systems and private residences.
Citterio strives to create functional and beautiful products that blend seamlessly into the environment in which they are used.
The architectural firms of Antonio Citterio and Partners and Antonio Citterio Patricia Veil have revamped historical areas and designed flagship retail stores, office buildings, hotels, public buildings, apartment buildings, and private residences across the globe.
Among his notable projects have been his collaborations with Terry Dawn designing buildings throughout Europe and Japan, the Esprit headquarters in Amsterdam, Milan, and Antwerp, the Bulgari Hotels located in Bali and Milan, and flagship stores for B&B Italia, Marazzi, Bvlgari, Technogym, and Arclinea. He even designed the industrial plant for Vitra.
His streamlined aesthetic is present in his architecture, furniture, and industrial products. He has designed for top-tier brands such as B&B Italia, Vitra, Maxalto, Kartell, Flexform, Hermes, Flos, Ansorg, Arclinea, Axor-Hansgrohe, Giberit Group, Pozzi Ginori, littala, Guzzini, Tre Pu, and Fusital. His work is on display at the permanent exhibition in MoMA in New York and the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris.
Antonio Citterio has received numerous awards and recognition from many for his work, including:
- Recipient of the Compasso d’Oro award in 1987 and 1995, the most prestigious award in Italian design.
- Was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 1999.
- Inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Industrial Designers Society of America in 2013.
- Named by the London-based Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce in 2008 as the "Royal Designer for Industry."
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Antonio Citterio - Final Thoughts
Citterio is a world-renowned designer who has won numerous awards for his work in furniture, architecture, and industrial design. Citterio strives to create products that are both functional and beautiful.
His clean, minimalist aesthetic has made him one of the most sought-after designers in the world. As a result, his work is on display at some of the most prestigious museums and galleries in the world, and his long list of satisfied clients attests to his skill as a designer.