Luigi Caccia Dominioni - a genius of modern Italian design and architecture

  BY Anastasia Ostapenko   31 May 2016

Luigi Caccia Dominioni – an indispensable authority among traditional Milanese and Lombard architects and designers. He was born in 1913 in the wonderful city of Milan, where he worked on historical architecture and design pieces. Caccia was a famous Architecture faculty member at the Politecnico di Milano. He was not just an architect or a designer, he was a co-creator of interior and outer spaces - a future visionary. To experience his vision for design and architecture first-hand you can take a walk toward the Casa Caccia Dominioni in piazza S. Ambrogio or to the Palazzo Visconti to admire its luxurious atmosphere in a fully reconstructed building by Dominioni. If you are close to Isola, then you can take a look at the modern condominium in piazza Carbonari constructed by this prominent Milanese architect, sculptor, and designer.   

Piazza S. Ambrogio, Milan

According to Caccia, everything comes from within. A façade of a building can only be drafted after inner composition (design) is decided upon. He puts himself into spaces and follows a movement of people, before he begins to plan out a ‘shell’ or a ‘cover’ for the building. He pays a great amount of attention to quality of axes and linking elements (corridors, stairways, public spaces). Luigi Caccia Dominioni once said, “Yes, I think people essentially move in meandering lines. They don’t go back and forth in straight lines like a shuttle, but move in circular oval or meandering lines”. He followed this philosophy in furniture, architecture, and interior designs. Dominioni believes that the way furniture is distributed and shaped determines the architectural design of the building.

Condominio in piazza Carbonari, Milan


Biblioteca civica Ezio Vanoni, Morbegno

Besides of being a great architect, he designed many statement pieces of Italian design such as Phonola 547 radio, Catalina armchair (1958), and Dominioni’s Monacella floor lamp (1953).  His famous “Catalina” armchair, from 1958, was designed with a groundbreaking technology of curved metal strips that form an elegant backrest, twist and follow a curved shape of a human body. The "Phonola 547" radio was designed to fit on the bedside table. The object combines functionality and design - a true Dominioni's philosophy. The Dominioni’s Monacella floor lamp works as an overhead light source made with adjustable diffuser. Also, he co-founded Italy’s first business for the production and sale of furniture items, called Azucena. The slogan of which might sound like - design in accordance with architectural spaces. Its core is functionality and simplicity intended for mass production. 

"Catalina" armchair, 1958


"Phonola 547" transistor radio, 1940 

"Monacella" floor lamp, 1953 

Luigi Caccia Dominioni considered himself a “Baroque” designer, sculptor, and an architect. Baroque - the most urban of all styles characterized by simplicity, functionality, and beauty. He reduced all details to bare minimum limiting unnecessary design elements and focusing on functionality of design objects. Caccia’s designs were copied by many companies, however, you can still find and purchase his original designs in stores such as Alessi, Azucena Showroom Milano, and Spotti Milan. 

translated by Anastasia Ostapenko