Firenze Wall Clock is a contemporary timekeeping classic. A simple, sophisticated, easy-to-read way to tell the time. And make a room look nice. And it even features a deliberate mistake (more later).
The Firenze was created by celebrated Italian brothers Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. Pier Giacomo passed away in the sixties, and Achille Castiglioni went on to be one of the greatest ever designers of beautiful things – including watches, seats, radios, lighting for Flor, and cutlery for Alessi.
Achille Castiglioni won the Compasso D’Oro (Italy’s most prestigious design award) a whopping eight times, and has seventeen different products in the Permanent Design Collection of MoMa NYC.
The Firenze Wall Wall Clock was originally created by the Castiglioni brothers as a prototype for their kitchen room installation at the famed 1965 exhibition ‘The Inhabited House’. The brothers named their clock for the city that hosted the exhibit – Firenze (Florence).
Many famous designers contributed rooms to the exhibition, but amid the elaborate and the ornate, the Castigliani kitchen stood apart from all others in its humble simplicity.
That room featured their now-famous Firenze clock
It’s only appropriate that such a famous clock design should debut in the land of the Benedictine Monks. They’re believed to have invented the mechanical clock in the thirteenth century as a more precise way to honour their duty of prayer.
A curious feature of The Firenze clock face is its deliberate mistake – the way the roman numerals are used to depict FOUR. Any Australian primary student knows that the correct way is IV, but the Firenze flaunts IIII as a design feature.
Turns out, it is rare but not unknown in the world of clocks & watches to depict the number four in this way in roman numerals. It adds to the balance of the face…
Curiously, whilst the Castiglioni Firenze prototype first appeared in 1965, the Alessi company didn’t commence production until 1996.
- Specifications : diameter = 36cm ; material = ABS plastic ; quartz movement ; AAA battery required.