Capital: € 96 million
Age: 91
Born: 02.08.1928
Country of origin: Germany
Source of wealth: Designer
Last updated: 2022

Short introduction

The German designer Luigi Colani was a world star in his profession. He designed a number of everyday objects, including airplanes and cars. He developed his own distinctive style, which he christened “Biodesign”. In doing so, he emphasized the particularly organic appearance of the products he designed. It was particularly popular in Japan and China, but also in the rest of the world.

Early life

Luigi Colani was born Lutz Colani in Berlin in 1928. His father was Swiss, his mother Polish. From an early age, his parents attached great importance to promoting his creativity. So they didn’t buy him toys, but enabled him to make his own toys. So he learned to solder before school and had to deal with various materials such as wood, plaster or clay.

At the end of the Second World War, Colani had to serve as an anti-aircraft helper. From 1946 he studied sculpture and painting, which he did not finish, however, since Luigi Colani thought he was better than his teachers.

He therefore instead studied aerodynamics in Paris from 1949 to 1952 and then analytical philosophy, also in Paris. This was followed by engagements with aircraft manufacturers and car manufacturers. When he designed his first GT sports car for Alfa Romeo in 1957, he changed his name from Lutz to Luigi.


Colani had quickly earned a reputation as an extremely innovative design talent. In addition to design work in the fields of aircraft and automobile construction, he also turned to other industries in the following decades. So he built up a large and successful team of furniture designers in Rheda-Wiedenbrück, although of course he also contributed a lot. He was also active in the field of everyday objects.

He reached the peak of his creativity when he ran his design studio at Schloss Harkotten in Westphalia between 1972 and 1981. The so-called “design factory” became the point of contact for numerous students from all over the world, as well as for engineers. During this time Luigi Colani designed products from all areas of life.

However, since he was known for not speaking out when dealing with customers, there were some disputes. He found the representatives of the German auto industry in particular to be so hostile to innovation that he eventually emigrated to China and Japan. Nevertheless, his reputation among consumers in Germany and throughout Europe remained impeccable and of enormous reverberation.

From 1982 he was chief designer at Canon, Sony and Mazda. In Japan he has been considered a “design god” since then. In 1995 he relocated to China, where he later became a professor at other universities. In 2002 he finally returned to Germany, where he settled in Karlsruhe.

In addition to this professorship in Shanghai, he also worked at the universities of Tokyo, Bremen and Beijing.

Career highlights

Given the abundance of activities and areas in which Luigi Colani was not only active but also style-forming, it is hardly possible to highlight individual highlights of his career.

In principle, the fact that his name has become a synonym for elegant, curved and lively design far beyond the design world can be described as his greatest success. The multitude of his awards, which go into the dozens, meant less to him than that he was able to help shape his environment according to his ideas.

Famous works by Luigi Colani are e.g. B. the Colani egg in Lünen, the camera Canon T90 and various series of ceramic products. He also designed a PC with rounded edges and even a piano, the Pegasus piano.

Famous quotes

“Baptized with Spree water, later – washed with all water.”

“” Every spider web is a revelation to what is being done in architecture today. ”

“As long as the mouth-heroes in leadership positions claim that they want to progress, but in reality they want to do nothing other than administer the estate and carry a huge bubble, the future of Germany remains a giant balloon. These conformists build the cars of the 2nd millennium and have not yet understood that we are already in the middle of the 3rd millennium. ”

“Take a stone and throw it into the water, the stone is round, the trajectory is round, the circles in the water are round, our world is round and moves in harmony on round orbits with billions of other round celestial bodies. Round shapes excite us even in species-preserving eroticism. Why should I, a thinking person, imitate those who see our world angularly? I continue the struggle of Galileo Galilei, my world is also round. ”

“I am a very rich patron who is ashamed to make so much money! And who always has zero in his account at the end of the year. The Colani is such a person. ”

Amazing facts

Luigi Colani was married to a Chinese woman from the 1990s. He also had two sons, one of whom also works as a designer. From 1995 to 2002 he lived in Shanghai, then until his death in Karlsruhe. He was a consultant to Airbus for a while, which is why he bought a castle near Toulouse.

His hobby besides his work was diving. Colani once said that a third of his life takes place under water. After his death on September 16, 2019, he was buried in the honorary courtyard of the main cemetery in Karlsruhe.


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