Joe Colombo (1930 - 1971) studied both painting and architecture and initially practised as an artist, establishing himself as one of Italy's foremost Abstract Expressionists.
During the 1950s, however, Colombo was increasingly drawn towards product design. In 1959 he took over the family business, an electrical appliance manufacturer, and consolidated his work as a designer with experimentations in new production technologies. In 1962 he set up his own design studio, working on interior design and architectural projects as well as product design.
In the course of his career Colombo designed products for Oluce, Kartell, Alessi and Boffi, amongst others. His designs are considered modern classics and are represented in the permanent collections of museums worldwide.