Achille Castiglioni pens combine ergonomics and good design
The two-decades-old Achille Castiglioni product is finally put into production by a group of Bologna-based entrepreneurs
Pens designed by Achille Castiglioni and his close collaborator, architect Gianfranco Cavaglià in 2001, part of the writing set ‘Cento3’, have now been put into production for the first time.
Castiglioni’s daughter Giovanna (who also heads the foundation preserving the designer’s legacy) found the original prototypes hidden behind a mirror in her father’s Milan studio: a series of wooden pencils that Achille Castiglioni and Cavaglià had created in collaboration with wood workshop Bottega Ghianda in 2001. As designers, Cavaglià recalls, he and Castiglioni had always had a desire to create their own working tools, in their case, writing instruments. During the project’s conception, the two designers debated the pens’ exact shapes, and the final design is moulded to accommodate a three-finger grip, to reinforce the connection between hand and mind. The design has the added benefit of not rolling off a table easily.
The prototypes had been left untouched for nearly two decades, as it was difficult at the time to find a suitable manufacturing collaborator to produce the unusual shape at an affordable price. Searching for a suitable manufacturer, Castiglioni’s heirs joined forces with a team of Bologna-based designers and entrepreneurs to launch Ego.M, a collaborative brand that would bring these design icons to life and produce them for the first time.
The new versions are 3D-printed in black graphene, and are available in three formats: a multifunctional ‘matitone’ (a thick pencil referencing the tools used on a building site), a classic pocket fountain pen with stainless steel tip, and a mechanical pencil. The technique faithfully reproduces the original forms, and the material is light to hold (an aspect, Cavaglià recalls, that was important for Castiglioni). The final result is clean and precise, an essential writing kit that brings the design commitment of one of Italy’s most celebrated creative minds into the future. §