about Carlo Mollino

CARLO MOLLINO (1900 – 1990)

Carlo Mollino was born in Torino, Italy on May 6, 1905. One could write many different biographies about Mollino: Carlo Mollino, the Italian down hill skiing champion of 1940           who was also quite successful as a designer. In 2005 his table design from 1949 for example was auctioned off at Christie’s for the back then record sum of $3.8 million. Or Mollino the master photographer who also participated in car races which he regularly won. Or would you prefer Carlo Mollino the writer and essayist who also recorded some successes as a stunt pilot?  

There is hardly any other human life that was spoiled by success as much as the one of Carlo Mollino. Mollino studied engineering and history of art; later on architecture at the university in Torino. After his studies Carlo Mollino worked at the architect’s office of his father Eugenio Mollino. In 1930 he won his first architecture competition with his design for the headquarters of the Federazione Agricoltori in Cuneo.

The success came and Carlo Mollino turned his back on architecture. He dedicated his time to the designing of furniture. In this field Carlo Mollino also made his own quite successful way: his designs differ a great deal from those of his Italian contemporaries. At that time rationalism was the dominating style in Milan, but Mollino´s pieces of furniture tell a different story: biomorphic forms, futurism and playful surreal designs are the specific features of Carlo Mollino.

Typical for Mollino were his chairs with a spilt, two-part backrest. In 1952 Carlo Mollino presented an armchair for the Casa del Sole in Cervinia: to create this piece of furniture with one-piece multiply bent armrests and legs, Mollino even took out a patent on a special procedure to form plywood when it is cold.

Carlo Mollino´s pieces of furniture are seldom produced in high numbers: the production in smallest editions by the Torino-based company Apelli&Varesio makes the designs of Carlo Mollino some of the most requested and most expensive design objects of today - like for example the $3.8 million table from 1949.  

Carlo Mollino died in his hometown Torino on August 27, 1973.