Scrittarello Desk

Achille Castiglioni - 1996
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A masterpiece of lightness, inspired by the Italian rationalist school of the 1930s-40s. It makes you want to write, draw, or just think. Scrittarello, "a little writing desk", almost an Italian neologism for relaxed activity with pen and paper. A simple surface for work, with two shelves at the sides. Perfect in the bedroom or in a corner, for studying and reading.

Italian designer Achille Castiglioni (1918-2002) was born in Milan. As early as 1940 he dedicated himself to testing industrial production with his brothers Livio (1911-1979) and Pier Giacomo (1913-1968). After graduating in architecture in 1944, he began a research into shapes, techniques and new materials, aimed at developing an integral design process. The design office he set up with his brothers would become one of the wittiest, elegant and innovative partnerships in modern design. Their dominant philosophy was that design must restructure an object's function, form and production process, and they applied this maximally to every work that they produced. Castiglioni described this process as followed: "Start from scratch. Stick to common sense. Know your goals and means."

In the 1950s the Castiglioni brothers publicly cemented their commitment to redesigning objects, these designs drew upon the "ready-made" school of art, in which everyday objects are repurposed for the showroom floor.

Castiglioni taught for many years, first at the Polytechnic of Turin, starting in 1969 and later leading a class in Industrial Design at the Architectural Polytechnic of Milan, to a group of several thousand students. He was also one of the founders of ADI (Association for Design Industry) in 1956.

MoMA in New York features 14 of his designs and other works can be found in prestigious museums all over the world. He exhibited his designs at every Milan Triennial from 1947 through the end of the century, and has received seven Compasso d'Oro awards.

Many objects designed by Achille Castiglioni have been produced by remarkable companies such as Flos, DePadova, etc. His professional activities spanned throughout the fields of Architecture and Urban Planning; he earned international recognitions for his projects applied to serial production in the fields of lighting fixtures and furniture as well as for his breathtaking installations realized around the world. Castiglioni's method, to have "a constant and consistent way of designing, not a style", led him to create products that helped restore Italy's quality of life in the post-war years and used the household object in innovative and whimsical way.

ē DePadova

From the very beginning Milan based DePadova have always been at the forefront of high-end furniture, both for home and office, and over the years have continuously had a significant impact on the perception and spread of design in Italy and by extension in all of western Europe.

It all began one summer's day in 1956 when Maddalena De Padova together with her husband Fernando decided to travel to Denmark to discover the clean, light lines of the Nordic designers. Impressed both by the beauty and diversity of what they saw they began to import furniture and objects and sold them at their Milan shop. This marked the debut of Scandinavian design in Italy, a revolution that has had a permanent impact on the evolution of Italian sense of taste and on people's way of living in general.

A few years later, on a trip to Basel, Maddalena discovered the Wire Chair by Charles Eames, an encounter that again would change her life. Within months she acquired a license from USA based company Herman Miller to produce designs by Charles Eames and George Nelson and founded ICF De Padova  for the production of the office furnishings of Herman Miller in Italy.

From her encounters with the American designers, Maddalena absorbed the secrets that would become the core of her philosophy: the importance of the environmental context, from George Nelson; of “connections” from Charles Eames; and of the crucial role of objects from Alexander Girard.

A large showroom was opened for the display and sale of those collections which soon also became a launching pad for emerging young designers like Ingo Maurer, whose first lamps and objects were introduced by De Padova. The same space on corso Venezia in Milan still serves as showroom today.

During the 70's, following her husband's death, Maddalena took full control of the company and besides the Herman Miller products began to produce pieces that would become icons of the era. While the Herman Miller license was ceded, this trend continued throughout the 80's with the collaboration of great designers like Achille Castiglionni, Dieter Rams and above all Vico Magistretti. The 90's saw new successful collaborations with Renzo Piano (including furnishings for the café at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Morgan Library's restaurant in New York) and Gaetano Pesce while Patricia Urquiola managed the R&D division of the company.

In 2004, two years before celebrating the 50th anniversary of the company, Maddalena received the prestigious Compasso d'Oro Career Award and gradually initiated the passing of the helm to her children.

Together with his sister Valeria, a member of the board and director of the Milan showroom, Luca De Padova, CEO since 2010, has continued to develop collaborations with new emerging and renowned designers, investing resources in the development of new products, while consolidating the brand and increasing its presence on traditional and emerging foreign markets. 


Base in solid natural beech, top and lateral trays in plywood covered in white laminate, footrest and ties in powder-coated steel


Width 129cm, depth 65cm, height 72cm
Fabric: 46% cotton, 22% viscose, 22% wool, 10% linen, 30 000 Martindale

Made in Italy


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