Who is he? Achille Castiglioni is an Italian designer renowned for dreaming up furniture that makes you smile. Should I have heard of him? Yes. He was the chatty chain-smoker who created more than 150 products and won his country's top design prize, the Golden Compass, routinely. What's his story? The son of a sculptor, he was born in Milan in 1918. In 1944, he graduated with a degree in architecture from Milan Polytechnic and joined his brothers, Livio and Pier Giacomo, in their studio. In 1949, Achille designed the Tubino table lamp, a snake-like creation put into production by Flos in 1974 and Habitat in 1999. In 1950, he became creative consultant to RAI, the Italian public broadcasting network. Under its auspices, he and Pier Giacomo would design pavilions and exhibitions until 1969. In 1952, Livio walked out of the family business. Ostensibly, this was to explore his fascination with lighting and sound installations, but he may have been influenced by the constant confrontation Achille admitted went on. What happened to Achille? He kept collaborating with his other brother, who was joint-winner of the first Golden Compass he received in 1955. Achille and Pier Giacomo won the award four more times - in 1960, 1962, 1964 and 1967. After his brother's death, Achille won it again in 1979, 1984 and 1989. The Museum of Modern Art in New York houses 14 of his works. Where else can you see them? At the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and the Denver Art Museum, among countless other establishments. His legacy is all the more amazing because he supposedly smoked 40 cigarettes a day from the age of 14. Yet, until his death in 2002 at 84, he was said to be cheeky and witty. Castiglioni believed life should be fun and he rejected commissions he thought would be a drag. His Milan office had a funhouse feel thanks to the mirror at the entrance that fooled visitors into thinking the office lay straight ahead. What is he most famous for? The chrome Arco lamp (pictured), modelled on streetlights yet reminiscent of a flower. Much mimicked, it has remained in production since its introduction in 1962. Other classics include the Mezzadro stool (1957) - an enamel-metal base topped by a tractor seat - and the Tojo lamp (1962), which was made from a car headlight. His Snoopy (1967) was a lamp resembling the beagle's head. What was his design philosophy? Start from scratch. Stick to common sense but be curious. Where can I buy his work? Flos (shop A, Winway Building, 50 Wellington Street, Central, tel: 2801 7608; www.dentro.com.hk ) or through Wright, an independent United States auction house that specialises in 20th-century art and design (tel: 1 312 563 0020; www.wright20.com ).