The writing instruments designed in 2001 by architects Achille Castiglioni and Gianfranco Cavaglià

In Bologna, Italy. Giovanna and Carlo Castiglioni tell the story of how they found the prototypes of this unpublished project by Achille Castiglioni hidden and kept behind in their father’s studio. Hidden within the 2012 headquarters of the Fondazione Achille Castiglioni, the prototypes were the last of his career, co-signed with architect Gianfranco Cavaglià: the writing instruments.


Photo credit: EGO.M

The wooden prototypes, created by expert cabinetmaker Pierluigi Ghianda, replicate the trilobate arched shape studied by Castiglioni and Cavaglià that, thanks to its distinctive ergonomy, represents the true alliance between mind, hand, and object, as well as having the particularity of not rolling on a table.


CENTO3.O mechanical pencil
Photo credit: EGO.M

EGO.M contribution

Respectfully aware of their responsibility, having ascertained the basics of the project, its ethos, and its original intentions from Cavaglià during a year of collaborative work, EGO.M focused on the realization of the instruments.During the constant dialogue between the partners, the project drawings were carefully analyzed, with just three among the wooden prototypes selected for production: a mechanical pencil, a multifunctional art pencil, and a fountain pen in pocket version. The selection was by no means casual, but rather it aligned with a precise vision for the project: the mechanical pencil represents the technical drawing, the multifunctional art pencil is practical, handy, and appropriate for many uses, and the fountain pen has been deliberately chosen in a pocket version to be more contemporary, unconventional, and closer to the younger generations.


Photo credit: EGO.M

3D printing and graphene

Fused Deposition Modeling, a three-dimensional printing technique, has been selected for production due to versatility which enables it to produce that unique shape. It’s interesting to note that the existence and application of such a technology has enabled the realization of a project left in a drawer hitherto because of production issues.3D printing also leaves a particular texture on the objects: a trace, like a scar, that represents value, a sign of authenticity that certifies the slowness of production and the uniqueness of each piece. In addition to being smooth to the touch, the instruments also have a knurl grip that allows for more comfort, also thanks to their pleasant lightness that we considered an absolutely positive feature for a writing instrument.


CENTO3.O mechanical pencil
Photo credit: EGO.M


CENTO3 in graphene and non functional wooden prototypes
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CENTO3: one name, many meanings

Achille Castiglioni said that

Even naming objects is an act of design.

and as a result, the title for this collection was also a matter of study and research.


Three pieces of CENTO3 Photo credit: EGO.M


Photo credit: EGO.M

About EGO.M

EGO.M is a design studio that aims at a constant search for essentiality through concrete but unconventional choices and solutions. The Team, based in Bologna, is composed of nine young professionals, united by common experiences in their familial and academic backgrounds that fuelled their passion and curiosity, while educating them and developing their taste for beauty. EGO.M is strongly determined to place itself at the heart of the global scenario of Made in Italy design. Thanks to the talent of its artisans, and strengthened by the know-how experiences of its partners, EGO.M gives life to a brand that wants to be pure design essence.