A family designed to "serve"


Of all furnishing accessories of modern design, the Servi series by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni is unquestionably the most famous. Developed over a twenty year period from 1961, this collection is to date highly topical.
The Milanese designers envisioned it as a functional, minimal, resistant series; ideal to “serve” both domestic and public spaces; a sectional, dismountable, modular system. Homogeneous and in progress.
A single polypropylene base, a high or low steel pole that acts as a prop and some accessories designed to sustain, bear, contain and highlight.
The first to be designed in 1961 by the Castiglioni brothers’ exceptional composition skills were Servofumo and Servopluvio, respectively a free-standing ashtray and a basic umbrella stand. The designers made use of just four pieces to build two accessories: a pole, a base, a curved rod and a tub to collect water that drips from umbrellas in one item and to collect ash in the other item. They were created – a common event among designers who do not find what they seek in the market – to furnish Milan’s restaurant-pub Splügen.
Then came the occasional table Servomuto (designed in 1974), the first to be sent in for production in 1975, followed by Servofumo and Servopluvio in 1980, and then by the rest of the “family”. When Zanotta introduced it the same year at the Furniture Fair, few understood it immediately, but it soon won over the market, like the other ten Servi designed by the Castiglionis until 1987.
Over the years many of these items were added to the permanent collections of seven design museums in the world.