Beginning life in 1949 as a company creating plastic accessories for cars and automobiles, Kartell, has certainly come a long way. In the early 1960s, the brand began to diversify and created a range of household objects, including baby baths and carpet beaters in a series of colours, before moving into the striking collections of furniture, lighting and accessories that Kartell is famous for today.
Kartell was founded by chemical engineer Giulio Castelli and his wife, architect Anna Castelli Ferrieri. Giulio’s passion for revolutionary design and desire to change the perception of plastic as an interior material led to the brand’s innovative aesthetic and ground-breaking signature style. Anna was also significant in the evolution of the brand and, as well as designing Kartell’s Milan headquarters, went onto become the art director of the brand. Creating the famous Componibili collection, which has been added to New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Anna Castelli Ferrieri is now considered a pioneer of post-war design.
Kartell’s pioneering use of plastics catapulted the brand to fame and transformed public opinion on the use of this modern material, signalling the arrival of a new era in design. This bold, colourful design ethos led the way for modern Italian design throughout the 1960s and 1970s as homes began to accept and embrace the fusion of function and style.
Progression and innovation have proved to be Kartell’s watchwords and, in the late 1980s, Guilio and Anna’s son-in-law, Claudio Luti, took over Kartell following a career with Gianni Versace. Claudio soon began to collaborate with some of the most noted designers in the world and this, along with the brand’s innovative use of technology, contributed to Kartell’s fame. Design heavyweights such as Philippe Starck and Ron Arad began working with the brand and developed Ghost Chair, Kartell’s most popular item, and Bookworm Bookcase – two celebrated designs which have now become utterly iconic.
Today, Kartell is continuing to push boundaries with the development of the Precious collection which features glamorous, metallic finishes, adding a luxurious opulence to some of the brand’s best known designs – perfect for adding a touch of contemporary decadence to your interior.