Cesare "Joe" Colombo was born in Milan as the second of three brothers. He studied painting and sculpture at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, the academy of fine arts, in Milan and then architecture at Politecnico di Milano University.
In 1958, Joe and his younger brother Gianni took over the family business, which produced electric appliances. Using the factory as a playground, he started to experiment with new construction and production technologies. In 1962 Joe Colombo opened his own design office, which specialized in interior design and architecture projects for industry and retail stores. Concentrating on industrial design for the remainder of his short life, Joe Colombo believed that many problems could be solved by the use of new materials - first and foremost plastic. Joe Colombo was one of the most influential and representative designers of the modern era and his adventurous and futuristic character became his trademark. He received many awards for his designs and his works have been exhibited and included in the some of the most significant museum collections worldwide.