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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)

The Modern Sybarite

Interior Designer, art advisor and blogger, Richard Rabel brings fresh perspectives on art + design for today’s interior in his blog TheModernSybarite.

Based in New York City, Richard is consistently asked by his clients for advice on art, design and decoration and ultimately provides clients with livable, warm and unique interiors that reflect a 21st century lifestyle based on his rich experience in fine and decorative art of all periods.

A multi-linguist with a ten-year career as a senior director and specialist with Christie’s, the London-based global auction house, Richard has lived in seven countries and has had access to some of the most exquisite and exclusive spaces.  From San Francisco to Mexico City, Sao Paulo to Geneva, Istanbul to Delhi and Sydney to Shanghai, the breadth of his travels has cultivated his eye and contributed to defining his exacting taste and modern aesthetic.
The Modern Sybarite

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