architect - designer
Franco Albini is considered one of the most important Italian designers of the current of neo rationalism. He studied architecture at the Milan Polytechnic, and, following the achievement of his degree in 1929, he dedicated himself to designing in the field of furniture in the attempt of establishing a relation among the shapes of modernism, bounded by the new methods of industrial production, and the traditional ones that were linked to an absolute concept of grace and naturalness, and to the production methods used by the artisans.
Like nearly all the most important figures of the design field who were pioneering industrial production he committed himself to attempting to achieve the production of high quality creations at low prices. Large part of is creative production was therefore designed in a way that did not discard the possibility of using economic materials.
After creative work experiences in the office of the designer Gio Ponti, in 1930 he opened his own studio where very often worked alongside the designer Franca Helg.
While paralleling the concept of rationalism the work of Franco Albini also consists of purely fantastic and imaginative elements like in the project of the bodywork of a radio transistor created in 1938 and called Securit realised in transparent glass with the purpose of allowing a view of the circuits of the machinery. This concept seems to have inspired many other designers among which, as an example, is the established British designer Jonathan Ive during the creation of the bodywork of some groups of computers with the exterior made of a slightly transparent plastic in many different colours called iMac that were produced in 1998.
Franco Albini promoted his own neo rationalist ideology with the purpose of creating a new style of modernity also by deploying his capabilities in the editorial field. He collaborated with the Italian magazine of architecture and design Casabella as a creative member of the editorial staff.
An illustrative example of his work in the architectural field is the building for the superstore La Rinascente in Rome, Italy, that he designed with Franca Helg; this architectural creation was priced the award Compasso D' Oro in 1963. The stations of the Milan underground railway, priced with Compasso D' Oro in 1964, are also a noticeable example.
A wide range of industrial design products, among which many were created in the period between 1950 and 1960, can be considered symbolic examples of Italian design. Among these are the armchairs Gala and Margherita created for the design company Vittorio Bonacina, which made of sinuously and delicately shaped wicker, create a conceptual bridge between industrialisation and craft.