Kartell’s Componibili combines practicality and playful design

Designed by Anna Castelli Ferrieri, the Componibili storage unit is a design classic that finds its place in every area of the home. Behind its sleek sliding doors, everything from eyeglasses and socks to soaps can easily be tucked away.

Componibili Smile storage unit 1, 2 modules, red
In the Componibili Smile series, the legendary storage unit has been updated to today's emoji culture with smiley faces designed by Fabio Novembre.

THE COMPONIBILI is a versatile and playful storage piece – like a larger, home decor-scaled Lego block. It can be used on its own as a side table in the living room, a toy hideaway in a child’s room, a hat storage in the entrance, or a bedside table in the bedroom.

And if more storage space is needed, the Componibili units can be stacked on top of each other to create a larger storage solution.

Componibili storage unit, 3 modules, white
The Componibili storage unit was designed by Anna Castelli Ferrieri in the 1960s.
Pre-owned Componibili storage unit, 3 modules, white
The handy storage unit serves well as a side table in the living room, a nightstand in the bedroom, or a countertop in the entrance hall.

The ’Mobili 4970/84’, more commonly known as the Componibili, was designed by architect Anna Castelli Ferrieri (1918–2006) in 1967 for the Italian manufacturer Kartell’s collection. This fun storage unit has been in production ever since and remains one of Kartell’s most popular items. The Componibili’s round shapes and sliding doors make it both practical and aesthetically pleasing.

The Componibili is available in various colors and three sizes, allowing for a personal and playful approach to interior decorating.

Anna Castelli Ferrieri worked with plastic products starting from 1949 when her husband, the chemical engineer Giulio Castelli, founded Kartell in Milan. She rose to the position of design director in 1963 when the company established the Habitat Division, specializing in interior products and furniture. At the same time, Castelli Ferrieri also led her own architectural firm, initially alone and later in collaboration with Ignazio Gardella.

Componibili Smile storage unit 1, 2 modules, red
Thanks to its durable plastic surface, the Componibili is also well suited for the bathroom or balcony.
Componibili Smile storage unit 1, 2 modules, red
Kartell's Componibili storage unit is a legendary design classic.

The 1960s were a time of revolution in the furniture industry, particularly with the rise of plastic. Previously, plastic had mainly been used in everyday household items and technical products, but the 1960s saw the material being crafted into salon-worthy design pieces, such as sculptural and futuristic plastic chairs.

The Componibili storage unit was part of this march of plastic furniture, but in its design, Anna Castelli Ferrieri leaned more towards functionalism and a minimalist line, rather than the futurism inspired by the space travel of the 1960s. Educated in architecture at the Polytechnic University of Milan during the transition from the 1930s to the 1940s, Castelli Ferrieri was already interested during her studies in the practical design of the German Bauhaus school, as well as the rational architecture of the Italian Franco Albini.

Componibili storage unit, 3 modules, white
The expressive sliding-door compartments of the Componibili make it suitable for a variety of uses and fit into the most diverse interiors.
Componibili storage unit, 3 modules, green
In addition to white, the Componibili is available in numerous different colors.

The Componibili encapsulates Anna Castelli Ferrieri’s design style very well. She was above all a style-conscious minimalist, whose designs included sophistication and ease. This particularly resonated with the younger generation of interior decorators.

The designer of the Componibili, Anna Castelli Ferrieri, was one of the leading figures in modern Italian architecture and design.

The Componibili was not Castelli Ferrieri’s only plastic furniture design, although today she is best known for this series. She was a leading figure in modern Italian architecture and design, whose design work ranged from small plastic spoons to large architectural complexes. During her career, she managed to participate in the design of about 50 architectural projects.

Componibili Smile storage unit 1, 2 modules, red
The Componibili storage unit has achieved cult status in the design world.

The decades have proven that Anna Castelli Ferrieri’s understated and elegant design has stood the test of time well. Over 50 years later, the iconic Componibili still feels relevant. In 2019, Kartell introduced the Componibili Bio, which is made from renewable natural resources, and the 2020 Componibili Recycled, which utilizes recycled materials.

Having almost achieved cult status, the Componibili is a versatile and practical piece of furniture that understands the needs of daily life. Its restrained presence is timeless and adaptable to any setting.

See also:

Pre-owned Componibilis at Franckly >
All designs by Anna Castelli Ferrieri >

Text: Anna-Kaisa Huusko Images: Jose Jompero

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