Italian architect and designer Anna Castelli Ferrieri studied at the Milan Polytechnic Institute from where she graduated in 1943 as one of the first women to do so. While a student, Castelli Ferrieri worked closely with Franco Albini and was influenced by his neo-rationalist ideals of reduction, function, and rigorous beauty. The ideas of simplicity and functionality of the Bauhaus school was also a great inspiration.
From 1946-1947 Castelli Ferrieri worked as an editor for the architecture magazine Costruzioni in Milan. Two years later she joined her husband Giulio Castelli who founded the furniture company Kartell, which became a leading actor in plastic designs and furniture. Castelli Ferrieri became the leading designer at Kartell. In 1968 she designed the first chair from a single plastic mould and in the following year the stacking module storage unit Componibili was launched. The Componibili was exhibited in “Italy: The new domestic Landscape” at Museum of Modern Art in New York 1972. The plastic storage unit is still one of Kartells most best-selling pieces.
From 1976 to 1987 Castelli Ferrieri was art director at Kartell, where she became well-known for her designs in polyurethane and metal. In 1988 Anna and Giulio sold the company to their son in law Claudio Luti.
Castelli Ferrieri taught at the Milan Domus Academy from 1987-1992 and made designs for Arflex, Matteo Grassi and Sambonet. In addition to her work, she founded and was a member of several organizations including The Movement of Architecture Studies (MAS) of Milan, 1945; National Institution of Urban Planning (NIU), 1952-1956 where she later became president from 1969-1971; Italian Industrial Design Association (IDA) in 1956. She also published two books; one in 1984, “From Project to Product: Plastic and Design” and the second book was published in 1991, “The Interface of Material”, which explains the responsible behavior on the part of designers. She also published a profound list of articles.
Among the honors and awards that Castelli Ferrieri received one can mention gold medals at the Milan Triennale in 1947 and 1950, Compasso d’Oro Awards in Milan 1979 and 1987 and the Industrial Design Magazine Annual Award in New York 1983.
Anna Castelli Ferrieri passed away in 2006 at the age of 87.