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Osvaldo Borsani

Designer, architect and entrepreneur (1911-1985)

Osvaldo Borsani was born in Varedo (Milan) on August 17, 1911, twin of Fulgenzio with whom he collaborates all his life.
Osvaldo studies Fine Arts at the Brera Academy and architecture at the Milan Polytechnic, where he graduated in 1936.

The family owns a workshop for the production of furniture. The father Gaetano, at the beginning of the 1920s, creates custom-designed furnishings looking at the great deco cabinet-making.

The Atelier di Varedo, this is the name of the Borsani company, participates in the first Biennale of Monza in 1927.
During his studies, Osvaldo Borsani participated in the V Triennale di Milano in 1933. His "rationalist" project Casa Minima earned him the silver medal.

In 1932 he opened a sales and design space in Milan: ABV Arredamenti Borsani.
Here, with the futurist avant-garde, the relationship between artistic creation and craftsmanship is experienced, which in the post-war period will give life to furniture and furnishings in collaboration with artist friends such as: Aligi Sassu, Agenore Fabbri, Arnaldo and Giò Pomodoro, Roberto Crippa, Fausto Melotti, Lucio Fontana and Andrea Cascella.

At the beginning of the 1950s, Osvaldo Borsani sensed the changing times. The custom-made integral furniture begins to leave the field to the individual furniture designed to be industrially produced. From craftsmanship we move on to factory production.

In 1953 Osvaldo Borsani founded TECNO with his brother Fulgenzio. The company is characterized and becomes known for its technological and scientific approach to the production of furniture and furnishings.

In 1954, at the X Triennale, Tecno presented the D70 "butterfly" sofa, which with the subsequent P40 armchair (chaise longue), from 1955, became an icon of Italian design.

In 1956 Tecno and the Borsani received a large order from Enrico Mattei for the ENI offices of San Donato Milanese.
We move from home furnishings to those for the office and environments of large corporate offices.

In 1968, at the XIV Triennale (that of the dispute), Osvaldo Borsani presented the "Graphis" office system, created with Eugenio Gerli. Clean geometries in white laminate for all spaces for office activities: meeting and representation spaces, common areas, reception and training areas. This "democracy of form" represents for decades to come a characteristic of "Made in Italy" design in the world.

In 1970 Osvaldo Borsani founded the Tecno Projects Center with Marco Fantoni and his daughter Valeria Fantoni Borsani.
Architectures and new products are designed which can later count on prestigious external collaborations, including: Gae Aulenti, Norman Foster, Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, Emilio Ambasz, Ricardo Bofill, Jean-Michel Wilmotte and artists such as François and Frèdèric Morellet, Jeffrey Steele, Getulio Alviani, Carlo Mo.

Osvaldo Borsani died in Milan on April 16, 1985.