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Franco Albini

architecht - designer (1905-1977)

Franco Albini was born in Robbiate (Como) on October 17, 1905.

One of the most important and rigorous Italian architects of the twentieth century adhering to Italian Rationalism and as such is internationally recognized through an extensive publicity of his works.
Son of an engineer, he graduated in architecture in 1929 at the Polytechnic University of Milan, making trips to Europe that allowed him to personally meet personalities such as Le Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

In 1931 he began his professional activity with a studio together with the architects Giancarlo Palanti and Renato Camus, realizing in the early years mainly furniture design projects.

Log in quickly in contact with the environment of Casabella (in 1932 the meeting with Edoardo Persico), who in those years had the role of a true melting pot of the Italian Modern Movement architecture. In 1936 he had his first major assignment designing the Fabio Filzi district in Milan.

At the end of the 1930s he took part in some important planning groups such as some urban plans and competitions for the EUR (together with Ignazio Gardella, Giuseppe Pagano, Giovanni Romano and others).

In 1945 he was one of the founders of Movimento Studi Architettura, an important moment of cultural rebirth and, the following year, he directed the magazine "Costruzioni Casabella" (together with Palanti) for a short period.

In 1952 he joined the studio as a partner Franca Helg, architect with whom Albini shared the subsequent projects.
In the early 60s the two other important presences of Antonio Piva (in 1962) and Marco Albini (in 1965) entered the studio, which together with Franca Helg will form a group that will complete many projects of Albini even after his death.

In the early '50s he obtained important positions that received wide approval from the critics. The arrangement of the Municipal Galleries of Palazzo Bianco in Genoa is one of the first museums realized within a historical structure and set up according to the principles of the Modern Movement, realized with interventions in stark contrast to the pre-existing building.

Subsequently, the architect had many prestigious positions, including the Rinascente headquarters in Rome (1957-61) and the stations of the Milan Metro line 1 (1962-63) in collaboration with Bob Noorda. Also worthy of mention are the numerous and masterly setting up of exhibitions.

Albini combines the activity of an architect with that of a designer, especially of furnishing elements, throughout his career. Some pieces of furniture, such as the experimental tensile bookcase from 1938, place him as a great innovator in this field. Some of the objects designed by Albini, furniture and other objects, including some famous handles, are still in production and are sold all over the world.

Albini also carries out an important didactic activity, since when, in 1949, when he was called by Giuseppe Samonà, together with other important architects, at IUAV (Venice University Institute of Architecture), where he taught in the years 1949-54 and 1955-64 . He teaches at the Politecnico di Torino, in the academic year 1954-55, for the first time as a tenured professor, and since 1964 at the Polytechnic of Milan.

Member of CIAM, INU, Accademia di San Luca, of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), of the scientific institute of the C.N.R. for the museography section (1970). There are numerous prizes and awards, including:
three gold compasses (1955, 1958 and 1964); - the Olivetti Award for Architecture (1957); - the "Royal Designer for Industry" award by the Royal Society of London (1971).

Main projects and design achievements:
Room for a man, 1936 - for the VI Triennial of Milan
Portable Radio, Prototype - 1938 -
bookcase, tensile structure 1939 -
Luisa, armchair - 1949 - Prototype
Margherita, armchair - 1951 - Bonacina
TL2, table with 1950 - trestle support - Poggi
TL3, dismountable table - 1951 - Poggi
Luisa, armchair, 1955 - Poggi
PS 16, chaise-longue - 1956 - Poggi
Bookcase, with ceiling uprights, 1957 - Poggi
Mini-desk, table - 1958 - Knoll
Line 1, Milan Metro, 1962 - with Bob Noorda
Alcinoo, lamp - 1964 - Artemide
Credenza, furniture - 1967 - designed with Franca Helg
Sirrah, lamp - 1968 - with Franca Helg and Antonio Piva