Achille Castiglioni and Gibigiana, redirecting light

Light and electricity always fascinated Achille Castiglioni. With his brother Pier Giacomo (who died prematurely in 1968) he often designed lamps, some of which – according to Claudia Neumann – “make up an itinerary in the history of modern design for lighting.”

One of them was certainly the Gibigiana, a mirrored reflector Castiglioni designed for Flos in 1980.

“The name itself,” journalist Beatrice Cassina has commented, “needs some explanation. In Milan, ‘gibigiana’ is a game kids play, reflecting a ray of sun on their friends with a mirror or windowpane. The Gibigiana lamp does exactly the same thing: it casts light in a very specific spot, directing it through a special mechanism. But it is a difficult contraption to make and to fully understand.”

“What was the starting point and goal of Gibigiana? For instance, to create a lamp that would not disturb the person sleeping next to you.”

So Gibigiana “was born out of the elemental need to not illuminate an entire space. Its light starts in one point and then, like in the children’s game, is reflected on a mirrored surface onto another point” (translated from B. Cassina, “In mostra Gibigiana, la lampada magica di studio Castiglioni”, in “Alias”, July 27th 2013).

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Achille Castiglioni (Milan, 1918-2002)

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