Portrait of Italian designer and artist Carlo Mollino standing up wearing a suit and with a cigarette on his hand

Carlo Mollino

Italian designer, architect and photographer

Carlo Mollino (born May 6, 1905, Turin, Italy–died August 27, 1973, Turin, Italy) was an Italian designer, architect, and photographer. As a man of many talents, Mollino was also an avid race car driver, pilot, ski enthusiast, writer, fashion designer, and inventor.

After studying mechanical engineering and art history, followed by architecture at Turin University, Mollino went to work for the engineering company owned by his father, Eugenio Mollino. By the 1940s, Carlo was creating his own furniture designs and architectural projects. He took part in various architecture competitions (winning first prize for the Federazione Agricoltori) and collaborated with other artists, such as Italian sculptor Umberto Mastroianni. Notably, from the 1940s to the mid-1950s, Mollino was commissioned to design private and public buildings, including Alpine resorts, hotel interiors, automobile racetracks, filling stations, and aircraft hangers. read more

His work was often considered outrageous, flamboyant, versatile, futuristic, surrealist, eclectic, and eccentric, to say the least. He himself described his work as “Turinese Baroque.” Later, it was discovered that his interest in the occult as well as the female body helped churn his creativity. With the introduction of the Polaroid instant camera, Mollino created a series of erotic female portraits in his studio and his home, Casa Miller. Although his erotic photography wasn’t discovered until after his death, his intrigue with eroticism was subtly highlighted through pieces he created. He lived across the street from artist Carol Rama, who created unconventional paintings and bricolages, with whom he was a friend.

Today, his work can be found in museums around the world, including museums in New York, Paris, and London. Out of his buildings, only about a dozen remain today. Some of his most notable works was the interior of RAI Auditorium (Turin, 1952), which underwent restoration and renovation in 2006, the Camera di Commercio (Turin, 1964), and Teatro Regio along Marcello Zavelani Rossi (Turin, 1965). His furnishings, which were produced in limited quantities, are difficult to find.

Last updated: May 23, 2019

For more information on Carlo Mollino, visit the following:

Italian interior designer Carlo Mollino at Vogue
Carlo Mollino architectural-review.com
The Carlo Mollino refuge
Biography of Carlo Mollino at Mollino-Carlo.com

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