Anna Castelli Ferrieri Is the Name Behind This Classic Yet Trendy Design Item

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There are some designs that look sleek and of-the-moment even though they were created decades ago. Case in point: this trendy furniture item that we've been noticing on the 'gram, in magazines, and online more often.

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The Componibili storage unit from 1969 is both chic and utilitarian. "Componibilie" roughly translates to "modular," which is a major feature of the design. It's the work of Italian architect and designer Anna Castelli Ferrieri, who made an impact on the industry.

Multiple sources identify her as a trailblazer from the early days of her career. She was "one of the first women to graduate with a degree in architecture from Politecnico di Milano," in 1943, according to Design Within Reach. A ​New York Times​ obituary reports that she co-founded the furniture company Kartell with her husband, Giulio Castelli, in 1943. Kartell became known, especially, for using plastic to create stylish furniture.

Castelli Ferrieri contributed to the design scene at the time in more ways than one. According to retailer Aram Store, she was "instrumental in bringing designers of the highest calibre to work for Kartell, including such luminaries as Joe Colombo, Richard Sapper and Achille Castiglioni."

And if you've got her piece in your space, you can actually say you own a museum-famous design. The Componibil was featured in a 1972 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art titled "Italy: The New Domestic Landscape." As her career continued to evolve, she took on the role of art director at Kartell in 1976.

The design got a second life in 2019, when Kartell released a bioplastic version. And today, it continues to pop up in spaces with a range of aesthetics — whether bright and maximalist or minimal and earthy.

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Eva is a Los Angeles-based writer who covers trends, news, and makers for Hunker. Her writing has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Bustle, KCET and more. She is a proud bookworm and organizes her books by color.