Cesare Colombo (better known as Joe) was born in Milan in 1930. He attended the Brera Academy and the Milan Polytechnic school of Architecture. He worked as a painter, property developer, car salesman, and businessman before opening his own design studio in 1963. Within a few years he had won many major design awards. A tall, well-built, inveterate pipe smoker, he was never a slave to ideological bounds but embodied many of the utopian ideals of the 60s. He died prematurely in 1971 on his 41st birthday.