Osvaldo Borsani (1911 – 1985) Italian furniture designer and architect

New Zara Home Collection
Borsani’s P40 adjustable lounge chair alongside Zara Home’s Octagonal Table

Osvaldo Borsani (1911 – 1985) was an Italian furniture designer and architect. In 1954 Osvaldo with his twin brother Fulgenzio changed the name of their grandfather’s company, Borsani Arredamenti, to Tecno, emphasising the company’s transition from craft to industry.

Biography

Osvaldo Borsani was born in Varedo Switzerland at the crossroads of craft and modern manufacturing. The son of a cabinetmaker, he trained as an architect in Milan in the 1930s, when the city was a centre of technological advancement and flourishing artistry, with the economic momentum to push both at speed. A creative pioneer, technical innovator and entrepreneur, he would come to revolutionise the world of contract furniture.

Imitation is the biggest compliment. We don’t bother to go through a law suit each time we run into an imitation of our furniture; we write a complimentary letter.

Osvaldo Borsani

With his twin brother Fulgenzio, Borsani developed a new productive formula based on two tenets: ‘an original idea’ and ‘fulfilling a need’. Their vision took shape in 1953, when they founded Tecno, and started manufacturing Italian design on an industrial scale. The use of innovative technology gave Tecno furniture a distinct elegance that came to characterise the brand.

Borsani was best known for his 1954-55 p40 articulated chaise lounge and its matte, the 1955 D70 sofa version. The rubber armchair was a sophisticated ‘machine for sitting’ that could, it was claimed, assume 486 positions.

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

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You may also be interested in

The P40 articulated lounge chair – Encyclopedia of Design

Osvaldo Borsani Armchair (P40) 1955, articulated chaise longue. The rubber-armed chair was a sophisticated ‘machine for sitting’ that could it was claimed, assume 486 positions. Osvaldo Borsani was an Italian architect and designer and he produced a large body of work in the 1940’s and early 1950’s, including case goods storage pieces and seating.

Tecno Italian Furniture manufacturer – Encyclopedia of Design

Tecno an innovative Italian furniture manufacturer was founded By Osvaldo Borsani and Fulgenzio Borsani. The operation had evolved from Atelier Varedo, the workshop of the father in Varedo, and the subsequent small firm Arredamento Borsani. Among other models, it produced Osvaldo Borsani. Among other models, it produced Osvaldo’ Borsani’s successful 1953 p40 chair and 1953 D70.

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