Milan, design 1940, reissue 2008
In keeping with a common feature of his work, Franco Albini researched support modelling and analysed skeletal
structures when working on the Luisa chair.
After fifteen years of design development and five different versions (1939, 1942, 1949, 1950 and 1955), Franco Albini reached an analytical synthesis creating his final version of the Luisa chair, a small classic armchair which won him the “La Rinascente Compasso d’Oro” prize in 1955. The statement supporting the awarding of the Prize reads: “In addition to professing the ingenuity and conceptual properties of the intrinsic aesthetic technical solutions of the object presented, and in addition to drawing attention to the designer’s perseverance and commitment through years of continual changes and revisions to his work, we also wish to submit the solutions proposed in Franco Albini’s chair to Italian manufacturers and to the public.”
The chair’s structure, seat and backrest are independent elements bound to each other through multiple cog joints, providing rigidity with minimal sections. These joints constitute the founding element of the design and it is through the same that Franco Albini resolves and summarises the sense of the design. “The joints create the geometric relationships between the components and
control the sections of wood” 1. In all five solutions formulated, the design is based on the principle of production where the various parts made of different materials and with differing techniques should be produced separately and only joined together during the final assembly. After the version produced by Knoll in 1949 and the one drawn in the same year for Slica di Recco, the final version was produced by Carlo Poggi of Pavia in 1955. The Luisa chair is currently part of the “Cassina I Maestri” collection. The manuscript prepared by the architect for three lectures held in 1956 at the Faculty of Architecture of Venice, where he presented the chair’s design, are conserved at the Franco Albini Foundation along with many other documents. During his lectures, Franco Albini analysed his professional experience to help students to reflect on work methods and approaches to production issues. Rework, take apart and reassemble, remove anything that is not essential. The archive of Franco Albini’s works can be viewed by booking a guided visit at the Franco Albini Foundation.
1 E. Morteo, Il mobile e la morfologia [furniture and morphology], p. 45-63. Un museo del design industriale in Italia [A museum of industrial design in Italy], Abitare Segesta, Milano 1995, p. 144.