100 years of design: Table by Gianfranco Frattini

The famous Italian architect and designer Gianfranco Frattini used his travel experiences in Japan to create the Kyoto table for Poltrona Frau in the 1970s. Conceived as “the perfect blend of design vision and craftsmanship,” the model was re-released in 2020.

The Italian architect Gianfranco Frattini (05/15/1926 – 04/06/2004) liked to repeat that when creating furniture, moments are important for him: the texture of the material and the creation of a new typology of the object. He received his education at the Milan Poly in the early 1950s, during the heyday of Italian rationalism. Trained at Joe Ponti’s studio. Early in his design career, he met Cesare Cassina, the founder of the renowned brand. Later, Frattini also collaborated with Bernini, Knoll, Artemide, manufacturers who left a bright mark on the modernist design of the twentieth century. Today, Gianfranco Frattini’s items are presented in galleries, museums, such as MOMA in New York, and are successfully sold at auctions.

On a trip to Japan almost 50 years ago, Gianfranco Frattini visited the artisan workshops of Kyoto to study the work of local craftsmen with his friend and associate, the experienced carpenter Pierluigi Gyanda. Inspired by the woodworking technique and the aesthetics of the area, the designer came up with the idea of a hinge that formed the basis of the Kyoto table, which began production in 1974.

The peculiarity of Kyoto is that its structure is not hidden – it becomes the object itself. There are no decorative elements: even the spectacular Canaletto walnut inserts were added for a reason – they are designed to add strength to the table. This design emphasizes the beauty of the material, which requires serious technical skills, care and in-depth knowledge of the characteristics of the raw materials.

The Kyoto table, which is part of the permanent collection of the Triennale in Milan, has been reissued by Poltrona Frau with full respect for the original design. The new version “reflects the skills and experience of a new wave of artisans, heirs to the rich Italian tradition of woodworking.” The model is available in a square version 102×102 cm or in a rectangular version 102×49 cm, both 32 cm high. The table top and legs are made of extra light beech solid wood with inserts in solid Canaletto walnut. The planks are butted at a 45 ° angle to form a square pattern. All surfaces are treated with a protective transparent varnish.

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