Franco Albani was a major figure in the Rationalist Movement, excelling in architectural, furniture, industrial and museum design. After receiving a degree in architecture from the Politecnico di Milano in 1929, he worked with the Ponti and Lancia design studios. His work for the magazine Casabella also played a key part in his development, marking his conversion to the Rationalist Movement and his becoming its spokesman on the Italian cultural scene.
Upon setting up his own practice in Milan in 1931, he took on the challenge of workers’ housing and continued with this effort after the war. In 1952, he collaborated with Franca Helg on this endeavour, largely supported by opportunities offered by the reconstruction projects.
During the 1940s, began designing furniture for several firms, including Cassina and Poggi. The cities of Milan and Genoa form the geographical axis where Albini left his strongest imprint. For the Lombard capital, he planned the development of the stations on Line 1 of the city’s subway system (1962/63), in collaboration with graphic designer Bob Noorda. His numerous urban development and building projects for Genoa include the Palazzo Bianco (1949/51), Palazzo Rosso (1952/62), and Tesoro di San Lorenzo (1952/56) museums. Franco Albini was the recipient of many honours in recognition of the importance of his cultural contributions.
Among others, he is a member of the INU, the CIAM, the Accademia Ligustica di Genova, MOMA in New York, the ADI, the Accademico di S. Luca, the Fondazione Pagano and the London Royal Society of Arts. He also received numerous prizes, including the La Rinascente-Compasso d’Oro for the design of the Luisa chair (1955), the Bronze Medal from the Parson School in New York (1956) for his contribution to industrial design, the Olivetti Award for Architecture (1957), the Gran Premio Nazionale La Rinascente-Compasso d’Oro (1958), the La Rinascente-Compasso d’Oro Award for the Milan Line 1 Subway project (1964), and the Royal Designer for Industry title awarded by the London Royal Society of Arts (1971).
In all his work, from home furnishings to industrial and museum design projects, Franco Albini always instilled a logical consistency, an extreme purity of expression and exceptional ethical and historical integrity. The architectural and design work of Franco Albini represents a keystone of the Italian architectonic culture from the early 20th century through his active career revolving around a creative and rigorous approach to composition and building that expresses a particularly high degree of aestheticism.