Franco Albini (17 October 1905 – 1 November 1977) was an Italian Neo-Rationalist architect and designer.
A native of Robbiate, near Milan, Albini obtained his degree in architecture at Politecnico di Milano University in 1929 and began his professional career working for Gio Ponti. He started displaying his works at Milan Triennale. In 1930 he opened his own practice.
Through his creations, the modern furniture design merged the Italian traditional artisanship with the new forms of modernism. In his creations, he used raw, inexpensive materials. He exploited the very skilled Italian craftsmanship. This also meant an elegant design based on a minimalist aesthetic.
One of the first, successful works in 1939 is a radio, encased in glass, so to show its internal components.
In 1928 Albini designed the now-iconic"Albini Desk", combining steel, glass and wood with a striking minimalistic balance, and introduced by Knoll in 1949. In 1950 he designed the famous and fashionable "Margherita" and "Gala" chairs, made of woven cane. In 1952 he created the "Fiorenza" armchair for Arflex; in 1955 the "Luisa" chair; in 1956 the "Rocking chaise" for Poggi.
In the 1960s he worked on industrial design as well as important architectural projects. In 1961 he designed the Rome Rinascente building. Three years later he designed in a team of experts many Milan subway stations. In 1964 the television set he created for Brionvega was displayed at the Milan Triennial. In the same year, he created various lamps for Arteluce.
Albini was also an architect & interior designer. Among the others, in 1945 he created the 'Zanini Fur Shop' located in Milan. As writer and editor, from 1945 to 1946 he worked for the Italian magazine Casabella.
Albini obtained three Compasso d'Oro awards, the most prestigious Italian design prize.
- Piva, Antonio; Vittorio Prina (1998). Franco Albini 1905–1977. Milan: Electa.
- Sherer, Daniel. "Rationalism and Paradox in Franco Albini's and Franca Helg's Architecture and Design, 1934–1977," in D. Sherer, Aldo Colonetti, eds. Franco Albini and Franca Helg Design (Milan, 2009), 9–38.
- Leet, Stephen. Franco Albini, Architecture and Design, 1934–1977 (Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 1990).
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