A Beautiful Friendship

Ignazio Gardella and Famiglia Coggi

Villa Coggi designed by Ignazio Gardella (1942–1954). Image courtesy of the Gardella Historical Archive and Casati Gallery.

For more than two decades, Ignazio Gardella maintained a relationship with the Coggi family. The Coggis commissioned the architect to custom-design the furnishings for not one but three of their residences: the Villa Coggi (1942–1954), the Appartamento Coggi (1957–1963), and the Casa Coggi (1952–1962). Their appreciation for his design is not only evident via repeat projects but in the way they brought the furnishings with them to their new homes. Instead of replacing items, they worked with Gardella to reuse pieces they loved and to add new complementary designs to their spaces. With these private projects, Gardella was afforded the opportunity to return to designing furniture and lighting, which he had pursued early in his career. Additionally, he was able to foster further collaborations with other designers through his own production company, Azucena, which he co-founded in 1947 with Luigi Caccia Dominioni and Corrado Corradi Dell'Acqua.

Custom Designs for the Coggi Residences

Visions of Italian Design

For more than 20 years Ugo Alfano Casati has been bringing fresh and interesting modern and contemporary Italian design to market. From rare and custom works by Italy’s most notable architects to classic forms and more recent limited edition works from the most radical and forward thinking minds, Casati’s vision of Italian Design is one of quality, beauty and historical significance. 

An Italian himself, Casati grew up in Milan. He worked for Alessi and Bodum in Paris before relocating to Chicago where he opened Casati Gallery to bring Italian design to the American market. He focused on Italian designs of the post-war era to present day, developing relationships with artists, designers, foundations and archives, adding valuable context and introducing new scholarship in the field alongside his elegant offerings. 

In 2007, Casati and Wright teamed together to create a book dedicated to the designs of Angelo Mangiarotti. The award-winning publication, featured full-color images and was published in English and Italian introducing the innovative designer to the broader market. 

Casati’s interest in fine craftsmanship and originality soon grew to include emerging design and he began to produce editions by makers whose aesthetics complimented his Italian sensibility: Jonathan Nesci, Philippe Nigro, among others. 

This special curated auction celebrates Casati Gallery and marks the beginning of Casati Projects, a new phase for Ugo Alfano Casati who endeavors to bring renewed energy and experience to the field of Italian design through curatorial and consulting services for discerning collectors and institutions across the globe.

Luigi Caccia Dominioni 1913–2016

Born in Milan, Italy in 1913, Luigi Caccia Dominioni was a tireless pioneer for modern industrial design. Caccia Dominioni began his formal training in architecture at the Milan Polytechnic Institute. He graduated in 1936, and that same year, opened an architectural and design studio with the brothers Livio and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni; together, they designed the first plastic radio produced in Italy. The radio was featured in the VII Triennial Milan where it won the gold medal for best design. In his architectural designs, Caccia Dominioni was best known for his Gesamtkunstwerk creations of urban planning. Unlike many architects, Caccia Dominioni worked closely with the craftsmen and technicians throughout the process of building, and as such, his structures are outstandingly preserved to this day. The church of San Biagio, his restructuring of the Biblioteca, and the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana are among his most famous buildings. In 1947, Caccia Dominioni founded the atelier Azucena with fellow architect Ignazio Gardella. Azucena was noted for experimenting with new forms and emerging materials in furniture, lighting, and industrial objects. In the 1950s, Caccia Dominioni worked with the Cooperativa Ceramica to craft designs for restaurants, ceramic tiles, and interiors. In 1960, Caccia Dominioni designed a series of apartment buildings in the Piazza Carbonari. These building are known for their uniquely irregular profiles and scattered doors and windows, giving the façades the feeling of an abstract painting. In the 1970s, he designed not only buildings, but also furniture and lighting, and he most notably crafted his playfully luxurious “Toro” or Bull chair in 1973 for Azucena. Caccia Dominioni continued to fashion designs for both lighting and chairs well into his 90s. He passed away at the age of 102 in 2016.