Osvaldo Borsani

Osvaldo Borsani

Born in Varedo, Switzerland in 1911, Osvaldo Borsani was an Italian architect and designer who was active in Milan. His father, Gaetano Borsani, was a noted furniture craftsman who won the silver medal at the Monza Triennale in 1927 and his twin brother, Fulgencio, would be his collaborator and business partner.
In 1937, Borsani entered the Politecnico di Milano to study architecture. After completing his degree, he joined the family business, Atelier Varedo (later Arredamento Borsani) as a furniture designer. Throughout the 1940s and early 50s, Borsani produced a large body of work including a variety of furniture, cabinets and seating. Especially noteworthy was a 1946 wall-mounted shelving system. Among his clients were Crippa, Fabbri, Fontana and Sussu.
In 1953, Borsani and Fulgencio founded a firm called Tecno which, as its name suggests, became known for its technology and research-based approach to furniture design. In 1955, Tenco issued one of its best known pieces, the P40 chaise lounge. Described as a “machine for sitting,” it featured rubber arms and could assume 486 distinct postures; the D70, a sofa version, was also manufactured.
Borsani himself acted as the company’s sole designer for over 30 years; it was not until the mid 1980s that Gae Aulenti, Norman Foster and others started to bring their contribution to the designs. Today, Tecno is known for its innovative furniture for offices and public buildings.
Borsani had a long history of participation in the Triennale di Milano back to 1933, when he collaborated with architects Cairoli and
G. B. Varisco on a project called the “Casa Minima.” He would continue to exhibit his work there for decades. Osvaldo Borsani’s designs were showcased by museums and galleries throughout Europe and, in 1962, he received the prestigious Compasso d’Oro.

Mod. L78
Osvaldo Borsani
Produced by Arredoluce
Designed for the 10th Milan Triennale

Enameled metal and brass
H335 cm x W16 x L13 cm

Il Design in Italia: Dell’Arredemento Domestico, Bayley, pg. 87