Metropolis Mag: A Masterful Effort

Franco Albini Luisa Chair

“The Luisa is one of the great chairs of the twentieth century,” says Brian Kish, a New York–based dealer who specializes in modern Italian furniture. Franco Albini’s 1949 design is one of four that Cassina will reissue this fall as part of its Cassina I Maestri collection. For Kish, the choices represent “Milanese intelligence and refinement at its very best.”

Working with the Fondazione Franco Albini, directed by the late designer’s son Marco, Cassina has faithfully reproduced the Luisa (which won a Compasso d’Oro prize in 1955), the Cavalletto (shown) and Cicognino tables (designed in 1950 and 1953, respectively), and the Infinito bookcase (1957). According to Demetrio Apol­loni, Cassina’s general manager, representatives from the foundation visited the Meda factory every week to ensure loyalty to the originals. Though Albini’s expressive postwar style made him an icon in Italy, he has been somewhat overlooked in the United States. Now, 50 years after their original release, his pragmatic yet poetic shapes can be ap­pre­ciated by a new audience. “Good design lasts forever,” Kish says. “These pieces will never age.”

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