Franco Albini - New Now & Design Hong Kong Sunday, November 26, 2023 | Phillips
  • The present and following four lots designed by Franco Albini in collaboration with the pioneering furniture Italian manufacturer Poggi over a period of ten years show the variety and flair of Albini’s work. Poggi was founded in Pavia in the 1940s and has a rich history of cabinetmaking. The company was renowned for its commitment to quality craftsmanship and affiliation with design masters. These designs became emblematic of the era's focus on clean lines, functionality, and the use of high-quality materials. Poggi started as a small workshop and later evolved into a prominent furniture manufacturer known for its innovation. It was also renowned for their use of sought-after woods which we see beautifully brought to life in the various designs by Franco Albini offered in this sale.


    The Adjustable modular bookshelf or room divider, model no. LB7, with integrated shelves and cabinets, executed in teak and with painted steel feet, is a versatile statement work that can be arranged in various ways and have its height slightly adjusted. An ingenious construction system allows for the cabinets and shelves to be installed as desired within the uprights. This design is clearly rooted in Albini’s architectural background, with the vertical sections recalling the structural parts of some of his building designs such as the Palazzo Ina in Parma and the Rinascente department store in Rome, amongst others. The 'Luisa' armchairs show Albini's exploration of a minimal and captivating aesthetic that did not compromise on functionality nor quality. His objective was to use as little material as possible to give a sense of lightness to the design. He aimed to maintain the artisanal flair into a chair model that was to be produced in larger quantities. Indeed, the walnut frames show meticulous joinery particularly on the armrests and are complemented by a vibrant green upholstery. The chair was named after Albini’s secretary, Luisa, who loved the design. This now iconic model won the prestigious ‘Compasso d’Oro’ design award in 1955. The Pair of 'Cicognino' side tables are a prime example of his ability to merge tradition with modernity. Classic round oak tabletops contrast with the striking feature of one of the legs that extends to also serve as a handle for the table to be easily moved around, making the design distinctly ahead of its time. These qualities of lightness and ease of handling within an interior were in fact highlighted in period advertisements. The name is a diminutive of ‘Cicogna’, the Italian word for ‘stork’ due to their abstract resemblance to the animal. The demountable octagonal table, model no. TL3, is a manifestation of Albini’s foray into constructivist language. Crafted from walnut and painted steel, this piece has an undeniably attractive geometry. Finally, the Pair of folding chairs are made in durable and aesthetically pleasing mahogany, again showcasing the designer’s appreciation for aesthetics and practicality in the modern post-war Italian home.

    • Literature

      Guglielmo Ulrich, Arredatori Contemporanei, Milan, 1949, n.p. for a drawing
      Domus, no. 315, February 1956, n.p. for an advertisement
      Franco Albini, Franca Helg, 'Per un collezionista', Domus, no. 338, January 1958, p. 30
      Emilio Ambasz, ed., Italy: The New Domestic Landscape, Achievements and Problems of Italian Design, exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1972, p. 328
      Giuliana Gramigna, Repertorio 1950/1980, Milan, 1985, p. 59
      Vittorio Prina, 'Franco Albini Arredi mobile 1938-1959', Domus, no. 729, July 1991, n.p., fig 1
      Giampiero Bosoni, Paola Albini, Chiara Lecce, eds., Franco Albini, Milan, 2011, pp. 6, 32, 66-69

Property from the GALLERIA M2 Collection


Pair of 'Luisa' armchairs

walnut, fabric, painted steel
Each: 76.7 x 54 x 55.5 cm. (30 1/4 x 21 1/4 x 21 7/8 in.)
Manufactured circa 1955 by Poggi, Pavia, Italy.

Full Cataloguing

HK$25,000 - 35,000 

Sold for HK$53,340

Contact Specialist

Angela Tian
Associate Specialist, Head of New Now & Design Sale
20th Century & Contemporary Art, Hong Kong
+852 2318 2058

New Now & Design

Hong Kong Auction 26 November 2023