Carlo Mollino (1905–73), the son of a prominent engineer of the city of Turin, graduated with honours from the Royal School of Architecture. He joined his father’s firm in 1931, only to pursue an independent and highly original career in design and architecture seven years later.
From the start, both his interests and personality set him apart from his contemporaries. Influenced by the Second Futurism 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. Highlights from his architectural output include the headquarters of the Societŕ Ippica Torinese (1935–9), the Faculty of Architecture where he lectured from 1952 to 1970, and the Teatro Regio Torinese (1966), all in Turin.
Mollino was able to bring together various forms of expression through his profound 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 most expressive and sculptural than the ones being produced in Milan at the same time. Most of his furniture designs were site specific one-offs for specifically commissioned interiors and were manufactured by the Apelli & Varesio joinery in Turin. This has meant that these pieces are very rarely available on the market and highly valued by furniture collectors. Beyond the sculptural aesthetics of his furniture, his designs involved thorough research into materials and technology. He 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.
His famous interiors were richly decorated with fabric, used not only as upholstery but also as 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.
The book presents for the first time his complete furniture and interior design. Including drawings and archival photographs, it represents the most comprehensive record 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 monograph emphasises the contemporary significance of Mollino’s groundbreaking oeuvre.
hardcover in dj, 290 x 250 mm 11 3/8 x 9 7/8 inches 280 col illus. 220 line drawings