Federica Sala

Giulio Castelli La cultura imprenditoriale del Sistema Design / The Entrepreneurial Culture of the Design System


Marking the opening to the public of the ADI Design Museum in Milan (26 May 2021), the volume accompanies one of the inaugural exhibitions that pays tribute to a founding father of ADI, the entrepreneur Giulio Castelli, whose contribution was fundamental for the birth of the Italian design system.

Giulio Castelli, born in 1920, was a pupil of the Nobel Prize Winner Giulio Natta, under whom he graduated in chemistry at the Politecnico di Milano in 1949. In the same year he founded Kartell, the company that introduced the use of plastics in furniture, revolutionizing the sector. Thanks to his long and unbroken intellectual working partnership with his wife, Anna Castelli Ferrieri, Kartell systematically introduced collaborations with the finest designers of the time, becoming one of the founding companies of the Italian design entrepreneurial system. Giulio Castelli was an entrepreneur of ideas and risk, who not only had no fear to share ideas with other entrepreneurs, but rather believed in debate and the system as a means to enhance that “design” internationally celebrated today.

For this reason, in 1956 he was among the nine founders of ADI, the Association for Industrial Design, which included industrialists and architects as well as critics, technicians, graphic designers and creatives, in general guided by the desire to create a system. The exhibition and the catalogue survey his entrepreneurial vision, which could not ignore the ties with the institutions, the Salone del Mobile, the newborn schools of design, museums and other entrepreneurs. Hence a life that rested on his close bond with his wife and dedicated to what we now call the culture of design.

English translation by Jon Cox.

17 x 24
Year of publication
Bilingual Italian/English