Giulio Cappellini was born into a family of furniture manufacturers. Along with a degree in architecture, he studied business management and in 1979 began working for his family's company.
In the early 1980's, under his leadership, the company turned its focus from over three decades of craft furniture to creating a more worldly approach toward design, material use and manufacturing. Cappellini's goal was to create outstanding living spaces through the mix of styles, cultures and materials. Architect, art director, but above all talent scout of international design excellence, Cappellini began to employ the talents of previously unknown or emerging designers from all over the world with different backgrounds and ideas. As a result, the work of Jasper Morrison, Tom Dixon, Marc Newson, Marcel Wanders and the Bouroullec brothers, among others, was discovered and brought to the forefront.
Many of the pieces in the permanent furniture collection of MOMA New York were produced by Cappellini, attesting to the company's significance as a design force. Cappellini furniture is also found in the permanent collections of the most important international museums, including the Centre Pompidou and Musee Des Arts Decoratives in Paris, the Museum Fuer Angewandte Kunst in Koln, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Galleria D'Arte Moderna in Rome.
Luminaire began working closely with Cappellini as early as 1984. In October 2005, Luminaire presented "The World of Cappellini" to a Chicago audience, allowing Cappellini to share his company's vision, their award-winning collection of designs and stories about the designers he has worked with over the years. In November 1999 he also discussed similarities between the mediums of fashion and furniture design at the Luminaire gala "Cappellini: A Tribute to Form," which featured a display of Cappellini furniture and a Jil Sander fashion show in Chicago. For the 2006 Puppy Love exhibition and auction at Luminaire, Cappellini coated a 3D plastic puppy in nacroter varnish and created a stunning object, raising awareness and funds for cancer research.