Castiglioni's Secret: The VLM Light Switch

Castiglioni's Secret: The VLM Light Switch

Maxwell Ryan
Aug 18, 2008

  • Welcome to Daniel! He's one of the six bloggers trying out for NY spot. Comment away....

  • The Italian designer Achille Castiglioni is best know for his iconic and historically significant designs. The Arco light, Taraxacum 88, Mezzandro stool, and many other icons by this Milanese designer are featured in museum collections ( ) and shops like DWR too. One of his designs from 1968 has absolutely escaped the notice of most enthusiasts and experts...

    In 1968 Castiglioni designed a light switch for VLM, an electronic component company. Available in White or Black, this design has been used regularly since then, and can still be purchased today. It is a standard on most European table lamps and even the original switches from the late 60's still make a distinctive snap on or off. This product truly is, as Castiglioni's daughter explains it, his little secret. For an artist with such a significant and well known oeuvre, this easily missed piece of inexpensive hardware is the ultimate anonymous work.

    As is typical with all of the rest of his designs, the VLM light switch is sleek, smart, and witty. Unlike many of his other designs, this one costs close to nothing. The VLM light switch is within the budget of anyone wanting to own a beautiful object by one of the Italy's most important designers, Achille Castiglioni.

    >> VLM International
    >> MoMA's 1997 Retrospective

    - Daniel Palmer
    (This is one of three posts by Daniel that we'll be posting this week)

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