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Franco Albini

architecht - designer (1905-1977)

Franco Albini was born in Robbiate (Como) on October 17, 1905 and is one of the most important Italian architects of the twentieth century. A member of Italian Rationalism, he 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. He travels to Europe where he knows Le Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

In 1931 he opened his own studio with the architects Giancarlo Palanti and Renato Camus, realizing in the early years mainly furniture design projects.

He knows the environment of the magazine Casabella (in 1932 the meeting with Edoardo Persico), who in those years played a central role in the architecture of the Italian Modern Movement. In 1936 he obtained the first important assignment for the project of the Fabio Filzi district in Milan.

At the end of the '30s he took part in some planning groups, urban plans and competitions for the EUR 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 1960s two other figures entered the studio, such as Antonio Piva, in 1962 and Marco Albini, in 1965, who together with Franca Helg formed a group that would complete many of Albini's projects even after his death.

In the early '50s he obtained assignments that received wide approval from the critics. The arrangement of the Palazzo Bianco Municipal Galleries in Genoa is one of the first museums built 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, Franco Albini obtains other positions, including the headquarters of Rinascente in Rome (1957-61) and the stations of Line 1 of the Milan Metro (1962-63) in collaboration with Bob Noorda.
Also worthy of mention are the numerous exhibit arrangements.

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.

Franco 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); Olivetti Award for Architecture (1957); "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