Portrait of Italian designer Gianfranco Frattini with a suit and black tie looking at the camera

Gianfranco Frattini

Italian designer and architect

Gianfranco Frattini (born May 16, 1926, Padua, Italy–died April 6, 2004, Milan, Italy) was an Italian designer and architect and an important member of the generation that created the Italian design movement of the late 1950s through the 1960s. He studied architecture at Politecnico di Milano from 1949 until 1953, and in 1952 he started a four-year apprenticeship in the studio of Gio Ponti.

In 1954, Gianfranco Frattini started what would become a long-lasting collaboration with Cesare Cassina, founder of the furniture maker Cassina. This collaboration with the manufacturer incentivized Frattini to focus on designing furniture and to form more partnerships with many other furniture and design manufacturers, such as Bernini, Arteluce, Acerbis, Fantoni, Artemide, Luci, Knoll, and Lema. read more

In 1956, Gianfraco Frattini, along with numerous designers, artists, and critics of the time, cofounded the influential Associazione per il Disegno Industriale (ADI), and during the same year, he opened his first professional practice in Milan with architect and designer Franco Bettonica.

By the late 1950s, he had become a board member of the Triennale di Milano, and he remained involved in it for the rest of his life. As a great connoisseur of wood craftsmanship, he forged a long and fruitful professional partnership with the master Milanese wood craftsman and cabinetmaker Pierluigi Ghianda. Gianfranco Frattini’s most iconic designs are the Mod. 849 chair for Cassina (1956); the structurally unique Alberto bookcase for Poltrona Frau (1958); the Boalum lamp, which resembles a boa constrictor made out of translucid plastic tubing, designed with Livio Castiglioni for Artemide (1970); the Sesann chair and sofa for Cassina (1970); the Kioto table for Bottega Ghianda (1974); and several glass designs that he made for Progetti throughout the 1980s.

During his career, Frattini won many professional awards and prizes, including the prestigious Compasso d’Oro, the Triennale di Milano medal, and the Gran Premio awards.

Last updated: February 13, 2020

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