(Robbiate, 1905 – Milan 1977)

“It is more through our works that we spread ideas, rather than through ourselves” Franco Albini said.
Indeed, Albini’s work speak on his behalf – the philosophy underlying his work; a social tension, expressed without redundancy, following an obsessive attention to detail and the constant perfection of an idea that unites rationality with fantasy, giving life to a poetic, yet functional world. His way of planning “honest and ethical”; his museum inventions that aim for the education of the public; his design pieces, with the ability to unite hand-crafted production with serialization and his urban planning that mirrors the needs of a modern civilizations.


“Tradition does not live in works, in objects, in man’s actions. It becomes tradition when men live the present, are aware of it and recognize it, as their own in their works and in their actions”

Franco Albini is born in 1905 in Robbiate (Lecco). In 1916 he moves to Milan where he gets his degree in Architecture at the Politecnico (1929) and begins working in the firm Ponti and Lancia. In 1931 he opens his own private practice with Camus and Palanti working on council housing: neighbourhoods “Fabio Filzi” (1936-38), “Gabriele D’Annunzio” (1938-40) and “Ettore Ponti” (1939). In the years before and during the war he continues his research on urban projects and housing solutions: from “Milano Verde” to Villa Pestarini (1938). Albini begins working on outfitting for exhibitions for the V Triennale in 1933 with the House with a steel frame created with Pagano and others. At the following Triennale in 1936 he designs the Room for a man and, with Romano, the Exhibition of antique Italian jewelry, archetype of new exposition solutions.

In 1945 he is the president of the Movement of Studies for Architecture and is director, with Palanti, of “Costruzioni Casabella”. He begins collaborating with Franca Helg in 1952. In those years the studio creates important projects among which the Ina office building in Parma (1950-54) and the shopping center La Rinascente in Rome (1957-61). In Genova they work on projects of city planning, buildings and museums: Palazzo Bianco (1949-51) and Palazzo Rosso (1952-62) and the creation of the Museo del Tesoro di San Lorenzo (1952-56). In the sixties together with the graphic designer Noorda they plan the Metropolitana Milanese (subway stations). The studio Albini-Helg collaborates first with Antonio Piva and then with Marco Albini. Franco Albini for almost thirty years is also University professor in Venice, Turin and Milan.

He dies in 1977 in Milan.


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