FRANCO ALBINI (1905 – 1977)
Franco Albini was born in Robbiate, Italy on October 17, 1905. Albini studied architecture at the Polytechnic in Milan. He graduated in 1929 and received a diploma. Already during his studies, Franco Albini started to work at Gio Ponti’s studio, where he also stayed for a while after his graduation.
He opened his first own architect’s office in Milan in 1930, one year after his graduation. Albini’s first years and designs were definitely influenced by the long-term cooperation with Ponti – Art Decor is the decisive style here.
Later on Albini’s proximity to the young artists of the Italian Razionalismo determined his works: Albini’s first own project, the pavilion for the Instituto Nazionale delle Assicurazioni (INA) from 1935, was dominated by clear forms and an austere geometry.
The furniture designs of Franco Albini follow the same line as his architecture: rational furnishings with a practical value and clear geometric forms. In 1936 Albini designed the “Room for one Person” for the Triennale in Milan, a room in which every piece of furniture has more than only one function. The bed is a room divider, the table integrated in the wall shelf and the ladder for the loft bed also functions as a coat rack.
In the 1950s Franco Albini mainly attracted attention with his shelves and chairs. These are also dominated by functionality: The shelves have a simple structure, are easy to assemble and can be endlessly extended. In 1951 Franco Albini presented the chair “Margherita” – made of rattan in curved rods.
One year later, in 1952, Franca Helg joined Franco Albini’s office as a partner. The majority of Albini designs produced afterwards were strongly influenced by this designer and architect.
In 1963 Franco Albini became a lecturer at the Polytechnic in Milan. He kept this position until his death on November 1, 1977.