Born in Milan in 1930, Cesare "Joe" Colombo had a multi-faceted career, starting as a painter and sculptor and eventually joining the family business of architecture and design. Colombo was very into activism, joining an avant-garde art movement in response to the anxiety of the nuclear bomb. In 1953, he started his first design project, creating a decorative ceiling for a jazz club. He continued to do freelance design while still painting until 1958 when his father became sick, and he gave up painting to join the family architecture business full-time with his brother.
Colombo continued to be experimental in his designs, making products and architecture projects that are different from the norm. He branched out on his own in 1962, opening a studio in Milan, where he designed Ski lodges and worked in product design. His furniture was bold, eye-catching, and geometrically inspired. Sadly, Colombo's design career was cut short when he died at age 41.