Cini Boeri

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Cini Boeri
(Maria Cristina Mariani Dameno)
Born19 June 1924
Milan, Italy
Died9 September 2020(2020-09-09) (aged 96)
Milan, Italy
Alma materPolitecnico di Milano
Known forarchitecture, interior design, industrial design
AwardsGrand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
Compasso d'Oro
Ambrogino d'oro [it]

Maria Cristina Mariani Dameno, known as "Cini Boeri"[1] (19 June 1924 – 9 September 2020) was an Italian architect and designer. She was considered "one of the great pioneering women in Italian design and architecture", who was described as a "formidable architect and designer, paragon of Milanese elegance and verve."[2][3][4]


Cini Boeri was born in 1924. She grew up in Milan and graduated with a degree in architecture from the Polytechnic University of Milan in 1951 – one of only three female graduates that year.[3][5]


At the Palazzo dei Diamanti, Ferrara. A design created by Cini Boeri in collaboration with Marco Zanuso
Ghost chair designd for Fiam, in collaboration with Tomu Katayanagi (1987)

In her career, she has collaborated with lighting brand Artemide and furniture makers Knoll, Magis [it] and Arflex.[3]

In 1951, after her graduation, she had a short experience with Gio Ponti—a famous master of Italian design and architecture—she started to collaborate with Marco Zanuso, another acclaimed architect and designer.[6] In 1963 she opened her own studio in Milan focusing on architecture, interior, and exhibit design both in Italy and abroad. From 1981 to 1983 she taught architectural planning and industrial design at the Politecnico University in Milan.[3]

Boeri earned her degree at the Politecnico di Milano university in 1951. At that time, there were more female interior designers than architects because it was thought that women were too fragile to work outside.[7] After collaborating with Marco Zanuso from 1951 through 1963, she started an independent architectural practice.[8] Her main focuses in architecture were civil and interior architecture, as well as industrial design.[9]

In the 1970s, Boeri began designing showrooms for Knoll in Europe and America.[10] She also designed a variety of sofas and chairs for the company, some of which are still in production today.[11] In addition, she worked for a variety of other design companies, including lighting company Artemide, furniture company Arflex,[12][13] and the housewares company Rosenthal.[14] Some do not know that Boeri was a trained architect because of her work for Knoll and Arflex.[15]

Different examples of her work can be found in museums[16][17] and international exhibitions.


She died on 9 September 2020 in Milan, Italy at the age of 96.[18][19]


Cini Boeri was known as her furniture pieces design, and it became widely recognized, but it's important to note that Cini Boeri was also a trained architect, and her talents shone through in various architectural projects she undertook both domestically and internationally.

During the 1960s, Cini Boeri completed a series of remarkable residential projects in Sardinia, showcasing her versatility and design prowess. Notable among these were Casa Bunker, a brutalist structure situated atop a cliff, and Villa Rotonda, an elegantly designed snail-shaped residence. Both projects were carefully crafted to establish a harmonious dialogue with the surrounding landscapes, reflecting Cini Boeri's sensitivity to the environment and her ability to integrate architecture seamlessly into nature.[3]

Between the 1960 to 1970, she challenged a lot in some popular philosophy of comfort, resembles her works in its form.[6]

Another notable project, Casa nel bosco from 1969, was nestled within a birch forest in Lombardy. Here, Cini Boeri's ingenuity was evident in the fragmented architecture, cleverly articulated to avoid the need to fell the large trees encircling the site. This approach showcased her deep appreciation for the natural surroundings and her commitment to sustainable and considerate design.[3]


  • 1964 Borgogna armchair (Arflex)
  • 1967 Bobo and Cubotto one-piece armchair (Arflex)
  • 1967 ABS luggage set (Franzi)
  • 1968 Bengodi sofa (Arflex)
  • 1970 Lunario table and Gradual sofa (Knoll)
  • 1971 Serpentone sofa (Arflex)
  • 1972 Strips sofa (Arflex)
  • 1972 Cibi glasses and crystal decorative objects (Arnolfo di Cambio)
  • 1973 Lucetta desk lamp (Stilnovo)
  • 1976 Talete table (Arflex)
  • 1977 Brigadier armchair (Knoll)
  • 1980 Double face revolving bookcase (Arflex)
  • 1982 Tre B handles (Fusital)
  • 1982 Dito desk table (Tronconi)
  • 1982 Rever door (Tre-P Tre-Più)
  • 1983 Malibu table (Arflex)
  • 1983 prefabricated house (Misawa Homes, Tokyo)
  • 1987 Ghost armchair (Fiam Italia [it])
  • 1989 Steps drawer (Estel)
  • 1989 Feltro chandelier (Venini)
  • 2007 To the wall bookcase (Magis)


  • 1966–67 Holiday house in Punta Cannone (La Maddalena, Italy) [6]
  • 1967 Holiday house on Abbataggia gulf (La Maddalena, Italy)
  • 1970 Museum house of Antonio Gramsci in Ghilarza (Oristano Italy)
  • 1976 Restoration of Palazzo Forti (Verona, Italy)
  • 1990 Country house (Piacenza, Italy)
  • 1997 EDS office building (Rome, Italy)
  • 2003/2004 Holiday house on Abbataggia gulf (La Maddalena, Italy)
  • 2007 Museum of the Duomo treasure (Monza, Italy)


Cini Boeri's influence and creativity extended far beyond her lifetime, leaving a lasting impact on the world of architecture and design.

Cini Boeri's impact on the world of design extended beyond her iconic furniture pieces, as much of her work remains in production today due to the modular and functional nature of her designs.[20] This testament to the timeless quality of her creations highlights her unwavering dedication to functionality in addition to aesthetics.[3]

Through her furniture and architectural work, Cini Boeri not only left a lasting imprint on the design world but also demonstrated her exceptional ability to create functional, innovative, and environmentally sensitive spaces.[20] Her influence continues to inspire contemporary designers, making her legacy a cherished and enduring one.

Prizes and awards[edit]

Boeri was awarded many prizes; among those, in 1979 a Compasso D'Oro for her "Strips" sofa system for arflex, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles in 2008.[21][22] She was made a Grande Ufficiale Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana in 2011, and was awarded the Ambrogino d'oro [it] Gold Medal from the city of Milan in 2019.[23][24][1]

1952 Compasso d'Oro industrial design award

1979 Compasso d'Oro award

2011 Compasso d'Oro Lifetime Achievement award

2011 Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic

2012 Nominata Socio Onorario ADI


  • Cecilia Avogadro (a cura di), Cini Boeri, architetto e designer, Silvana Editoriale, 2004 (ISBN 88-8215-640-0)
  • Charlotte Fiell; Peter Fiell (ed): Design des 20. Jahrhunderts, Taschen, Cologne 2012, (ISBN 978-3-8365-4107-7), p. 121


  1. ^ a b "Mariani Dameno detta Cini Boeri Arch. Maria Cristina, Grande Ufficiale Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana". (in Italian). Retrieved April 22, 2023.
  2. ^ Maria Cristina Tommasini; Mario Pancera (1992). Il design italiano: protagonisti, opere, scuole (in Italian). Italy: Editoriale G. Mondador. p. 37.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g ""Formidable architect and designer" Cini Boeri dies aged 96". Dezeen. 2020-09-11. Retrieved 2023-08-05.
  4. ^ Bosoni, Giampiero (2008). Italian Design. MOMA. ISBN 9780870707384.
  5. ^ Anantharamakrishnan, Priyesha (2021). "Cini Boeri: Ideology and Philosophy".
  6. ^ a b c Brandolini, Sebastiano (2023). The House at Capo D'Orso. MIT Press. ISBN 9780262544962.
  7. ^ "The Divas".
  8. ^ McQuiston, Liz (1988-01-01). Women in design: a contemporary view. London: Trefoil. ISBN 0862941059. OCLC 17776062.
  9. ^ Guccione, Margherita. "Cini Boeri: Designing is a joy, but also a commitment". Retrieved 2023-04-23.
  10. ^ The Cini Boeri system. New York: Knoll. 1972-01-01. OCLC 123468481.
  11. ^ "Cini Boeri Brochure" (PDF). Knoll Furniture. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  12. ^ "Arflex – Prodotti – divani – STRIPS". Retrieved 2017-03-13.
  13. ^ "Arflex – Architetto – CINI BOERI". Retrieved 2017-03-13.
  14. ^ "| Rosenthal Online Shop". Rosenthal Online Shop. Archived from the original on 2017-03-13. Retrieved 2017-03-13.
  15. ^ "Women and Design in Milan".
  16. ^ "Cini Boeri | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2022-10-19.
  17. ^ "Cini Boeri". Centre Pompidou. Retrieved 2022-10-19.
  18. ^ Hahn, Jennifer (2020-09-11). ""Formidable architect and designer" Cini Boeri dies aged 96". Dezeen. Retrieved 2023-05-18.
  19. ^ "Morta a Milano Cini Boeri, architetta, designer e staffetta partigiana". la Repubblica (in Italian). September 9, 2020.
  20. ^ a b Boeri, Cini; Avogadro, Cecilia (2004). Cini Boeri architetto e designer (in Italian) (2nd ed.). the University of Michigan. ISBN 9788882156404.
  21. ^ "Image gallery". Italian Cultural Institute. Archived from the original on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  22. ^ "Prodotti – Cini Boeri". Arflex (in Italian). Retrieved 2023-04-23.
  23. ^ "Ambrogino per Cini". (in Italian). Retrieved 2023-04-23.
  24. ^ "Boèri, Cini nell'Enciclopedia Treccani". (in Italian). Retrieved 2023-04-22.

External links[edit]