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Franco Albini – designing in the shadow of Gio Ponti? You decide.


Franco Albini (1905-1977) was an Italian designer who got his start with famed guru Gio Ponti before going on to open his own studio of modernist furniture.  Known for his use of inexpensive materials, Albini’s legacy includes a number of fabulous pieces that reflect the talent unleashed in design immediately following the Second World War.  Some of my favorites:

The Tre Pezzi wool chair above is a favorite.  Cassina is now producing a limited number of re-issues that are stamped, etc., but for collectors, always stick with an original – unless you’re okay its value may not appreciate.  The best pieces are vintage and are VERY difficult to find.



The Canapo rocking chair was designed in 1945 but never produced.  Now Cassina is producing this chaise and I LOVE it.  To me there is definite inspiration in the LC4 designed in the 1920s by Corbusier, Jeanneret and Perriand but with a definite 50s vibe.  It looks sooooooo comfy.



Wicker is such a traditional seating option, and here Albini puts a modernist spin on it by creating this space age form.  Looking sweet where weather permits, like California or Florida.



The piece de resistance is the Veliero bookcase.  An absolute feat of engineering, Albini designed this wonder in the late 1940s, but it was deemed too difficult to put into production, so only the original built for his own home remained.  The glass shelves are held in place by ropes and cables all balanced by the V-shaped supports.  The story goes that the prototype lasted until the designer’s son played his stereo at a level that caused the glass to explode and the entire thing collapsed.  Now Cassina has been able to put it into commercial production using 21st century materials.  How about this as a room divider!


image credits: Cassina, Italy, except for the rattan pieces which are from popscreen.com



PS: Thank you for stopping by and reading my feature today.  I love what I do as an interior designer and art advisor, and it’s my hope that through these blog posts I’m enriching and heightening your aesthetic sensibility towards art, design and fabulous interiors in some way ~ Richard Rabel (a.k.a. the modern sybarite)

Florence von Pelet

Florence is a senior editor at Modenus.com. Aside from her natural passion for interiors, kitchens and baths Florence also leads the way on Modenus’ BlogTours around the world so please follow her on Twitter to get the latest information and inspiration about design trends from around the world.


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