by Secondome

Everybody want Osvaldo Borsani. The Triennale Design Museum in Milan celebrates him with a retrospective of three hundred pieces of furniture and four hundred images – original sketches among the others – set up by no other than Norman Foster. Milan Design Week rediscovers him opening Villa Borsani in Varedo for a projectcurated by Ambra Medda from mid April to September. Also bring him back ahead of the curve – if ever the great architect and entrepreneur stopped influencing worldwide design even after his death in 1985 – Britt Moran and Emiliano Salci: the Dimore Studio duo just opened the gallery’s spaces at via Solferino 11 to a series of unique pieces signed Borsani and made between the 30s and the 60s, before the visionary genius gave life to Tecno. There are wooden and glass, hand-painted bar cabinets, lacquered wood mirrors with details made of golden foil, walnut and mahogany wood buffet, floor lamps, armchairs, modular bookshelves… all pieces from a phase signed by the great craftsmanship typical of the Varedo atelier and originated by the creative influences linked to the collaboration which he started whit the greatest Italian artists of the time. Later on, with the Tecno, will come the factory production, destined to make the history of furniture and design as well. For example Graphis, the modular system that in 1968, in the heart of the student’s protests, brought a revolution to the office furnishing and ended up stained during the occupation of the same Triennale that today pays tribute to the master.

But what is the reason behind this rediscover? First of all, a desire of the entrepreneur descendants, obviously. Borsani’s nephew, Tommaso Fantoni, who collaborated with Foster to the exhibition’s set up, says: “We’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, it was hard to choose what to showcase.”

But it’s the entire design world which has been requesting a retrospective such as the Triennale Design Museum one. Borsani, indeed, embodies the perfect synthesis between the two characteristics that made the Italian design great: the ability to tailor the project and the attention to the details on one side, the industrial aspect on the other. Let’s think of the Varedo Villa. As told by Ambra Medda, it’s enough to walk its rooms, to feel the care for the details and the materias, both inside and in the garden. The one in Varedo is the house of an architect, “practical, balances and yet sublime. You really have the feel of how Borsani never gave in to compromise in his work, neither on quality nor on purpose”.


At Dimore gallery, the homage to Borsani takes place setting all the pieces of furniture on a big platform, focusing the attention on each piece and making it protagonist of the scene, while the original sketches counterpoint them. All of it inside an author’s scenography, signed by the duo that more than anyone recently has been able to set the pieces by the Lombard genius in a dreamy and more visionary world.








Ph Silvia Rivoltella for Dimore Gallery