Since its opening, Galleria Michela Cattai has focused on the study, research and selection of works of Modern and Contemporary Art and Design by some of the most important artists and designers of the twentieth century and brought them together under one roof.

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© 2016 Galleria Michela Cattai


Franco Albini


Italian designer Franco Albini graduated in 1929 from the Milan Polytechnic and began his professional life within the studio of Giò Ponti and Emilio Lancia. In 1931 he founded his own studio, together with Giancarlo Palanti and Renato Camus. He soon came into contact with the Casabella group, which formed his path to Italian rationalism. The influence of the centro-european group, meeting Le Corbusier and the group protection would be a point of reference for Franco Albini later on. After the war he actively participated in the intense movement of urban reconstruction, which offered him a new starting point. It was during this time that Franca Helg joined the studio. After this point he organised the Musei Comunali di Palazzo Bianco (1949-51) and Palazzo Rosso (1952-1962), created the new Museo del Tesoro in Genova and then curated the collection of Museo Civico di Padova nel chiostro degli Eremitani (1969-1979). In relation to Italian design, Franco Albini proposed new styles which matched the demand and popularity which would follow. Some models, created during 1937 and 1940, were presented in the 50s like ‘Luisa’ armchair, rocking chairs produced by Poggi and ‘Fiorenza’ armchair manufactured by Artflex. He designed new lines and shapes that anticipated an innovative taste thanks to his creativity. Franco Albini’s furniture may appear simple but they have been built carefully and with a complex construction. Thanks to his education, he became a rational architect whose furniture is known worldwide for its comfort, lightness and not for being cumbersome. They are recognizable for their elegant shape and for the refined choice of the materials which they are made of.

  • In the post-war period he become the most sought after draftsman
  • In 1946 he designed three armchairs for Cassina
  • In 1948 he started to collaborate with Knoll International producing a model he created ten years earlier
  • In 1949 he began his first job with Cassina from Pavia a collaboration which would last for a longtime
  • In 1951 he started to work with Franca Helg and in the same year he designed Gola and Margherita, armchairs for Bonacina

Franco Albini is a protagonist in the design of modern architecture and his 1950s furniture continues to be highly regarded. A main characteristic of his style is the use of supports. In 1957 he designed the LB7 bookcase, with legs which follow the same design pattern of his most famous architectual buildings, for example. Palazzo dell’ INA in Parma and the Rinascente in Rome. His furnishings follow two trends: basic, often modular elements and the furniture is not often fixed, instead they are able to be arranged in different manners and designed for various purposes.