Franco Albini Lounge Chair for Knoll, Model 49
About the Item
- Creator:Knoll (Manufacturer),Franco Albini (Designer)
- Dimensions:Height: 29.5 in (74.93 cm)Width: 25 in (63.5 cm)Depth: 28 in (71.12 cm)Seat Height: 15.5 in (39.37 cm)
- Style:Mid-Century Modern (Of the Period)
- Materials and Techniques:
- Place of Origin:
- Date of Manufacture:1950s
- Condition:Refinished. Wear consistent with age and use. Minor losses. Frame has been refurbished but shows some wear and minor losses consistent with age and use. Vintage naugahyde upholstery remains in good original condition.
- Seller Location:New York, NY
- Reference Number:1stDibs: LU828533666522
While working under the polymath Gio Ponti — arguably the most important figure in 20th-century Italian modernism — furniture designer Franco Albini nurtured a love for modern forms combined with traditional craft techniques.
Albini is widely known for working with organic materials such as rattan and cane for his chairs and other seating, but he also played a pivotal role in the Italian rationalist movement of the early 20th century, which saw architects and furniture makers applying a strict emphasis on geometry in their work. Rationalists drew on Ancient Roman architecture but rejected ornament, much in the way that Le Corbusier and celebrated Bauhaus figures such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe had in their modernist furniture.
Albini received his degree in architecture from the Polytechnic University of Milan in 1929, and, in 1931, he founded his practice in Milan, where he tackled workers’ housing and other reconstruction projects. A gifted urban planner, he also developed the Palazzo Bianco, Palazzo Rosso and Tesoro di San Lorenzo museums in Genoa. While Albini is revered for his Margherita chair — a Triennale Milano award winner created for Bonacina in 1951 — he also collaborated with manufacturers Poggi and Cassina in the 1940s on seating, tables and more that embodied his artistic vision. Of that mid-century work, the one piece that perhaps best captures this vision is the iconic Luisa chair.
With its cherry red upholstery and sinuous wooden legs that seem to float aboveground, the Luisa is a genuine masterpiece. It is also a testament to Albini’s perfectionism, as it endured several prototypes — including one made by Knoll in the late 1940s — and took approximately 15 years to design. Poggi launched the final version of the armchair in 1955, earning Albini the prestigious Compasso d’Oro from Italy’s Association for Industrial Design. It is produced today by Cassina. Albini named the chair for someone who likely saw the process firsthand: his personal secretary of two decades, Luisa Colombini.
Find vintage Franco Albini furniture on 1stDibs.
As a company that produced many of the most famous and iconic furniture designs of the 20th century, Knoll was a chief influence in the rise of modern design in the United States. Led by Florence Knoll, the firm would draw stellar talents such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Eero Saarinen into its compass. Their work would help change the face of the American home and office.
The company was formed in 1938 by the German immigrant Hans Knoll. He first worked with his fellow ex-pat, the Danish designer Jens Risom, who created furniture with flowing lines made of wood. While Risom served in World War II, in 1943 Knoll met his future wife, Florence Schust. She had studied and worked with eminent emigré leaders of the Bauhaus, including Mies, Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. She won Knoll over with Bauhaus notions of industrial arts, and an aesthetic that featured flat and tubular metal frames and angular forms. When Hans died in a car crash in 1955, Florence Knoll was appointed head of the company. It was as much through her holistic approach to design — a core division of the firm was dedicated to planning office systems — as Knoll's mid-century modern furnishings themselves that she brought about the sleek and efficient transformation of the American workplace.
Today, classic Knoll furnishings remain staples of modern design collections and decor. A history of modern design is written in pieces such as the elegant Barcelona chair — created by Mies and Lilly Reich — Saarinen’s pedestal Tulip chair, Breuer’s tubular steel Wassily lounge chair and the grid-patterned Diamond chair by Harry Bertoia.
As you can see from the collection of these designs and other vintage Knoll dining chairs, sofas and tables on 1stDibs, this manufacturer's offerings have become timeless emblems of the progressive spirit and sleek sophistication of the best of modernism.
Shipping & Returns
- ShippingRetrieving quote...Ships From: New York, NY
- Return Policy
A return for this item may be initiated within 3 days of delivery.
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