Post war Italy during the 1950s was a time of industrial design renaissance with lauded furniture company Tecno leading the way.
From automobiles to coffee machines, interior furnishings and textiles to glassware, the exuberant Italian design expression was eagerly anticipated both locally and internationally.
In furniture, the sculptural Italian aesthetic is particularly celebrated through the work of high profile designer/architects Gio Ponti, Carlo Mollino and Osvaldo Borsani. As was the case in the United States with the work of Eames and Saarinen, these designers sought to create an updated interpretation of modernist design. They combined curvilinear forms with luxury materials and an overall confidence, creating bold and highly recognisable works.
Tecno is one of the important Italian success stories in furniture design and manufacture. It was founded in 1953 by twin brothers Osvaldo and Fulgenzio Borsani and quickly established a reputation for technical achievement merged seamlessly with striking design. In their first year, the brothers developed the now legendary ultra-flexible P40 Lounge Chair, a ground-breaking design that could be manoeuvred into 486 individual positions. The design captivated a global audience and cemented Tecno as a leader in modern furniture design.
After thirty years and a suite of successful in-house designs, the company commissioned other successful architects to design for them including Norman Foster, Renzo Piano, Ricaro Bofil, Jean Michael Wilmotte. The P40 Chair remains the most collectable example of Osvaldo Borsani's work and an icon of Italian mid-century design.