He attends the Politecnico and the Brera Art Accademy in Milan. After an important experience in the informal art, he designs the X Triennale setting in 1954 and in 1956 he realizes his first building in Milano (Via Rosolino Pilo)
In 1963 he sets up his own studio in Milan and he devotes himself to the design of industrial products, many of which, when differently assembled, are proper object systems. Pioneer in ergonomic study for design, he develops well unique defined in space products, of sculptural and dynamic appearance at the same time.
Joe Colombo has left many examples of the originality of his intuitions, deriving from a constant research into new technologies and from a deep sensitivity in establishing a relationship between humans and the constantly evolving habitat.
On these basis he creates futuristic “machines for living “: the multifunction units VISIONA 1, TOTAL FURNISHING UNIT, CABRIOLET-BED and ROTOLIVING that influence the new way of living in small open spaces (lofts).
Joe Colombo introduces the relationship between space and time in design and he defines furniture as autonomous, flexible, coordinated, convertible, and independent from the architectural contest. Furniture is equipment to be used in different ways and times “at the service of the user”.
He wins numerous design awards:
1964 IN/ARCH Award for Hotel Pontinental, Sardegna.
1964 XIII Triennale di Milano: gold medal for the ACRILICA lamp, O-Luce; silver medal for MINI-KITCHEN, Boffi; silver medal for COMBICENTER, Bernini; mention for the CALOTTA lamp, O-Luce.
1967 Compasso d’Oro – ADI award for the SPIDER lamp, O-Luce.
1967 Mention for several design products, Expo Montreal.
1968 First Prize TECNHOTEL for the UNIVERSALE chair, Kartell
1968 XIV Triennale mention for the SPRING lamp, O-Luce.
1968 International Design Award 1968, USA The American Institute of
Interior Designers for the COUPÉ lamp, O-Luce.
1968 BIO 3 Lubiana mention for the UNIVERSALE chair, Kartell.
1970 Compasso d’Oro – ADI award for the CANDYZIONATORE air conditioner, Candy
1970 Compasso d’Oro – ADI mention for: the UNIVERSALE chair, Kartell; the BAZOOKA lamp, Stilnovo; the TRISYSTEM professional camera, Fatif.
1970 International Design Award 1970, USA The American Institute of Interior Designers for the SPRING lamp, O-Luce.
1971 First prize SMAU for the BOBY trolley, Bieffe.
1972 BAUZENTRUM, Vienna, silver medal for the UNIVERSALE chair, Kartell.
1980 XVI Triennale Award “Raccolta del Design”, BIRILLO, Zanotta.
1981 Compasso d’Oro – ADI mention for the CICLOPE lamp, Bieffe.
1986 Istituto Italiano di Cultura Award ”1932-1985 Histoire du Design”, Zanotta”, Strasbourg for the POKER table, Zanotta.
1991 Compasso d’Oro – ADI mention for the 5 in 1 glass, Progetti srl.
2007 Design Awards 2007, Wallpaper, International Design Interiors lifestyle,
Best kitchen Wallpaper Award: MINIKITCHEN, Boffi.
His works are part of the permanent collections: