Kartell celebrates the brand created by Anna Castelli Ferrieri
A timeless classic, incessantly projected towards the future: the Componibili have just turned 50 and Kartell is dedicating a special event to this timeless icon created by Anna Castelli Ferrieri in 1967 which immediately became a long-time bestseller of the brand.
To mark the opening of the Salone del Mobile 2017, the Milanese flagship store in via Turati will host an exhibition, that presents fifteen signature pieces, a special tribute in the form of a personal interpretation. Signed by Ron Arad, Mario Bellini, Antonio Citterio, Ferruccio Laviani, Piero Lissoni, Alberto Meda, Alessandro Mendini, Nendo, Fabio Novembre, Philippe Starck, Patricia Urquiola, Tokujin Yoshioka, from fashion brands Emilio Pucci, Missoni and Disney, the Componibili are transformed into authentic art pieces.
To complete the tribute, special dedications by the curators and authors who have accepted Kartell’s invitation to underpin the recollection and value of this object.
ANNA, FIRST LADY OF DESIGN She was the first great lady of Italian design, the one who was way ahead of all others and, unlike all others, had timeless intuitions, a nonconformist spirit and a bold attitude. No prima donna but often, in fact, the first woman: one of the first to graduate in Architecture from the Polytechnic and the first to chair ADI, from 1969 to 1971. It was actually at ADI that Anna asked me to become her vice. I accepted without hesitation even though I was not fond of titles or positions. In actual fact, it turned out to be an intense and very special experience, also because I was able to give back a little of what I had received. Indeed, ADI had honoured me in 1962 with the first of eight Golden Compasses. An Award that had bowled me over when I was still very young, opening doors and offering opportunities, one which represented a turning point in my life.
KARTELL’S ( SINCE 1967 ) It may be just a coincidence but Andy Warhol transformed the graphic design of Campbell’s soup tins into artworks shortly before Kartell launched the Componibili. So it is that, fifty years later, I am unable to resist the temptation: same proportions, same shape, same impact. By alternating red and white Componibili and touching them up a bit… here we have Kartell’s… an authentic concentration of icons. And your “Design Soup” is now being served!
“I have used a feature from the original design (the round finger hole handle) and have multiplied it to obtain a new graphic design which, I feel, represents me.”
“You’re a genius, I’m a genius, so imagine what we can do together.”
Nature, usually, is the only one capable of creating perfect objects, but I do have to admit that Anna Castelli Ferrieri with her ‘Componibili’ has come very close to it. Ever since mass produced objects created the ‘Industrial Design’, has very few objects embodied, form, function, materiality, and technology in such a way that it became an iconographic representation of the taste and style of an era. I am happy to pay a small, ironic tribute to this evergreen of design, stressing its green side by modifying it’s function and creating a flower box.
“I wanted to pay tribute to an extraordinary design by Anna Castelli Ferrieri in 1969, a design that has become an archetype and an icon of the last 50 years. Not wanting to interpret it as a designer, I tried to imagine what would have happened if I’d imitated it and played with it as an artist: I chose to be a pale imitation of Jackson Pollock, one of my favourite masters of 20th-century painting… a pale imitation in every way, from the coveralls to the gesture, perhaps not nervous enough or as resolute as the original. In reality, I tried to caress the Componibili in a gentler way, with primary colours, using the dripping technique like the original, but without the same fury or genius. To honour this wonderful design, I tried to combine energy with energy: that of two great masters, one of design and the other of contemporary art.”
“It did not seem right for my intervention on Anna Castelli Ferrieri’s Componibili to be either decorative or meddlesome. Knowing what she was like, I do not think she would have been very pleased…! I imagined using them, without detracting from their simplicity, to create a console with a glass top supported by two columns of Componibili, resulting in two structural and architectural elements.”
Long live Anna Castelli!
And her evergreen “Componibili”.
“I grew up in the 60’s, constantly exposed to design and architecture. The image of Kartell Componibili is well impressed in my memory: the only piece of bedroom furniture that has followed me throughout my various changes of address, from the bedroom I had as a little girl to the one I sleep in now. It is certainly one of the first objects that shaped my taste for design.”
Kartell is an Italian company that specializes in plastic contemporary furniture, including the cylindrical chest “Componibili” which is said to be one of their signature items. This has been redesigned in time of the exhibition organized to commemorate the furniture’s 50th anniversary. The speciality of componibili is its simple appearance and function that fits naturally in various types of interior and its ease-of-use. Therefore, several everyday sundries in the room unsurprisingly “gather” around it. In other words, it
is rarely seen on its own. Since the appearance resembles “one big family” rather than “one piece of furniture”, the possibility of creating an expression like a “family photo” was explored by turning the sundries that gather around into the same design as the componibili. The cups, wine bottles, and the cork that was placed on the side all have the same doors details as componibili. Additionally, books, glasses, lamps, and leaves as well as the planters have all become members of the “Componibili” family.
ANNA She called it “Componibile”, in keeping with her ascetic nature. It actually became an iconic design, which has now been with us for 50 years and has even been celebrated with a doodle by Google. I have to admit that I have always been under the impression that the round finger hole was meant to be a wink for those who were able to grasp Anna’s sense of irony. Having had the good fortune to be personally acquainted with her, I want to respond with an ear-to-ear smile, as befits the emoji times we live in. I think she would have liked it too.
“To celebrate the 50th birthday of “Componibili”, icon of contemporary design, bestseller and still very current object, Emilio Pucci is pleased to pay tribute at the Salone del Mobile with a special “Campanule” floral print edition from its archives, combining regular and modular patterns as only Emilio Pucci is able to do.”
I’m not a researcher, and I’m not an historian, but I know that Anna Castelli took ‘plastic’ from being a dismissive description into a new field of desirable components in our lives. Isn’t this the DNA of Kartell?
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Small butterflies are fluttering
and dancing around a lovely flower.
We cherish it as if it were a living flower.
It will continue to charm through the generations.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary,
I dedicate this piece to Anna Castelli Ferrieri.
“Componibili is a place to keep your tangible thoughts and memories. So many of them it’s hard to close the doors on them.”
Anna Castelli Ferrieri created Componibili when I was four years old. Fifty years later, they look as perfect,
fresh and young as ever, unlike me. I’ve added one of my Totem sculptures to an iconic 3-door
unit, casually placed off-centre to show that it’s not on a pedestal, with 3 faux coral knobs on the doors
to balance it, and to tease the spirit of Anna Castelli Ferrieri who would not have approved of such a
non-functional, decadent notion.
I chose to add the element of nature to my design through the leaves because I like to play with the
idea of bringing nature inside the home, this is something I have done in my own studio by painting
plants on my walls. As a student I was interested in the questions of nature vs. artifice raised by the
artists who became associated with the movement Arte Povera. Frida Kahlo has always been an incredibly
inspiring character for me. This is one of the reasons I wanted my design for the Componibile
to incorporate her image. The Componibile itself is such an iconic piece that I thought it only fitting to
incorporate a female icon in my design.
Taking the classic three-tiered Componibili
shape as the basis for this design, we wanted to
celebrate the famous Italian ritual of aperitivo.
The lower two drawers are combined and
accessed through a single large door to create
a space for drinks bottles, while the top drawer
space is hollowed out, leaving a shelf for glasses
and a further surface on top for preparing
Finally four tapering legs are added underneath,
inspired by the elegant lines that typify Italian
design from the middle of the twentieth
If possible, this design could also incorporate
wheels for manoeuvrability.
Duncan Campbell & Charlotte Rey
The idea behind my Componibile comes from spending time at the Saltzman family’s house in East
Hampton. This house is an expression of Richard Meier’s early modernism: the geometric composition,
the precise use of light and the absolute whiteness. A conscious return to the purity of Le Corbusier’s
I got particularly inspired by the the original designs of the house’s three primary coloured guest bedrooms.
Keeping all that in mind, together with an obsession for a 1970‘s table-desk and screen by the French
artist Guy de Rougemont, my belief in function being as important as form, and my love of a good
small secret bar, the Componibile is the result.
The cylindrical shape of Kartell’s iconic Componibile was the starting point for my reworked design.
The idea of turning the entire unit into a classical column immediately struck me because the shape is
already there, it would just be a case of placing a capital on top and a plinth underneath. I’ve always
been a huge admirer of Ancient Greek architecture and art and I love the shape and symmetry of
Ionic columns. I decided to lacquer the Componibile in a bright mustard yellow because colour is very
important to me and I like the idea of taking something classical in nature and turning up the volume.
I always want my work to feel irreverent and fun.
Luke Edward Hall
Better to live in the forest