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Sold at Auction: Osvaldo Borsani

(1911-1985)

Biography

Osvaldo Borsani was born in Varedo, near Milan, Italy in 1911, and died April, 16, 1985. The son of Gaetano Borsani, a celebrated craftsman of the “bespoke” tradition who, as head of the “Altelier Borsani Varedo” exhibited works and won awards at the Monza Biennial in 1927. A decade later, Osvaldo studied at the Politecnico di Milano to pursue construction. After graduation he joined the family business as a furniture builder and designer. By the end of WWII he was developing avant-guarde experiments with furniture design and craftsmanship that led to interiors co-designed by Borsani, Aligi Sassu, Agenore Fabbri, Arnaldo and Gio’ Pomodoro, and others. In the early 50’s Osvaldo realized that “bespoke” furniture was giving way to the needs for integral interior design projects that were industrially produced. In 1953 he paired with fellow designer Fulgencio to form a new company called Tecno which became famous for its research–based technological approach to furniture design. In 1955, Tecno produced one of its best known works, the P40 chaise longue – a “machine for sitting” . The Tecno organization went on to become one of Europe’s most influential design firms as it developed new and innovative approaches for civic buildings and offices. Osvaldo was the company’s sole designer for more than 30 years until the 1980s when other designers like Gae Aulenti, Norman Foster and others began to contribute design to the firm. Borsani’s designs have been celebrated and displayed by museums and galleries world wide. In 1961 he received the prestigious Premio Compasso d’Oro in honor of his lifetime achievements.
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