Kartell, an italian story in 400 pages

Plastic, that versatile and cheap material that Giulo Castelli

Kartell, an italian story in 400 pages

Plastic, that versatile and cheap material that Giulio Castelli, an intuitive chemical engineer, employed  when he set up his business producing accessories for cars and housewives.  Those years back in the 60s, when there was a positive push in design, it wasn’t difficult for the brand Kartell to impose itself on the international market with its products that were totally produced in Italy.


Plastic first started making its appearance in interior furnishings and afterwards in domestic objects, in a very original way, as it was worked according to the technological methodologies usually  employed in industry. A technique that immediately fascinated the market.

Already the first series of  Maui chairs by Magistretti, that were transparent and made up of two only pieces, “La Marie”, the small arm chairs ‘Eros’ and the series of one-mould chairs “Ghost” and “Bubble” by Starck, as well as the bookcase “Bookworm” by Ron Arad.  Many famous international designers designed for the company (today it belongs to Carlo Luti), amongst whom Antonio Citterio, Gae Aulenti and Piero Lissoni who contributed to the success of the company being awarded international prizes, such as “Il compasso d’oro’  awarded each year by the Association of Industrial Designers.

In the book  “Kartell. The culture of plastic”, a fascinating journey of words and images recounting the history of this leading company in the industrial production of “poor but beautiful” objects”.  A prestigious volume of 400 pages, edited by Hans Werner Holzwarth,  that was presented last week at an event organised by the company in Noviglio, with special guests, the art critic Philippe Daverio, the director of Vogue Italia Franca Sozzani, the art critic Gillo Dorfles, Marlen Taschen the daughter of the founder of the publishing company Benedikt, the designer Philippe Starci and Marie-Laure Jousset, head of the Design Section at the Pompidou Centre in Paris.