The Furniture of Carlo Mollino
Carlo Mollino (1905-73), the son of a prominent engineer of the city of Turin, graduated with honours from Turin’s Royal School of Architecture in 1931. He joined his father’s firm in the same year, only to leave to pursue an independent and highly original career in design and architecture seven years later.\n\nFrom the start, both his interests and personality set him apart from his contemporaries. Influenced by the Second Futurism movement and Surrealist avant-gardes, he was active in an impressive number of fields, including aeronautics, automobile design, art, photography, set design, town planning, furniture, interior decoration and architecture.\n\nHighlights from his architectural output include the headquarters of the Società Ippica Torinese (1935-9)and the Teatro Regio Torinese (1966), both in Turin. Mollino was able to bring together various forms of expression through his extensive artistic research. His furniture was based on organic shapes, such as tree branches, animal horns and the human body, the female profile figuring prominently in his design work. These pieces evolved from the appreciation of the shapes of Art Nouveau and the architect Antoni Gaudí, and were far more expressive and sculptural than those being produced in Milan at the same time.\n\nMost of Mollino’s furniture designs were site-specific one-offs for specifically commissioned interiors and were manufactured by the Apelli & Varesio joinery in Turin. This has ensured that these pieces are very rarely available on the market and are highly valued by furniture collectors. Beyond the sculptural aesthetics of his furniture, his designs involved thorough research into materials and technology. Mollino developed a complex construction technique whereby the structure seemed liberated by the weight of the material, as clearly seen in the glass and bentwood Arabesque table (1949), still in production by Zanotta.\n\nHis famous interiors were richly decorated with fabric, used not only as upholstery but also as a spatial device. He aimed at creating architecture and interiors that could be manipulated by the user, as with the innovative lighting system for the Miller House (1937), which was mounted on a curving track and could be moved along the ceiling of the house.\n\nThe book presents Mollino’s complete furniture and interior design for the first time and represents the most comprehensive record today of this part of Mollino’s production. Realized in collaboration with the Museo Casa Mollino and written by the museum’s curators Napoleone Ferrari and Fulvio Ferrari, this extensive and original monograph emphasizes the contemporary significance of Mollino’s groundbreaking oeuvre.
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