Unique Osvaldo Borsani Highboard in Cherry with Flora and Fauna Motifs
Osvaldo Borsani for Arredamenti Borsani Varedo, wardrobe, cherry, lacquer, lacquered wood, brass, mirrored glass, aluminum, metal, Italy, circa 1950
A truly exceptional piece designed custom for a private client by the Italian visionary Osvaldo Borsani for Arredamenti Borsani Varedo. As early as 1941, ABV showcased one of the first wardrobes featuring intricate flora and fauna illustrations—a testament to their artistic approach. Wardrobe designs stood as an important endeavor for ABV, and Borsani's ingenuity was apparent in the numerous adaptations made: doors adorned with diverse prints, interiors tailored to suit specific client preferences, and a spectrum of customizable finishes were all hallmarks of their creative output. The body of this piece is meticulously crafted from exquisite warm-toned cherry wood, adhering to a simple yet elegant design enriched by intricate carvings running along its border. The four door panels bear the skilled handiwork of Adriano Spilimbergo (1908-1975), a painter known for his picturesque landscapes. These panels are adorned with mesmerizing illustrations of leaves and flowers, achieved through the art of relief lacquering, and rendered in subtle and delicate colors. Inside, the interior is adorned with a vibrant blue hue, and it is thoughtfully furnished with coat racks, tie rack, drawers, and mirrors. This piece stands as a genuine masterpiece, excelling not just in its functionality but also in its aesthetic excellence.
Osvaldo Borsani (1911-1985) was an Italian designer and architect, raised by a family of fine furniture makers in Varedo. At the age of 16, he joined his father’s furniture shop, the Atelier di Varedo, which was fully engaged in designing and furnishing homes inspired by the Italian Art Deco movement. The designer of the atelier was the Italian architect Gino Maggioni (1898-1955) who was known for his Viennese Jugendstil orientation of the early 20th century. In the 1930s, he graduated from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera and Politecnico di Milano, where he studied Fine Arts and Architecture respectively. In 1932, the family company was renamed ‘Arredamenti Borsani’ and opened its first studio in Milan. During this period, he encountered Avant-Garde artists of various artistic disciplines like Lucio Fontana (1899-1968), Agenore Fabbri (1911-1998), Aligi Sassu (1912-2000), Roberto Crippa (1921-1972), Fausto Melotti (1901-1986), Arnaldo Pomodoro (1926-) and Giò Pomodoro (1930-2002). These collaborations resulted in the creation of furniture and interior design projects with a high-level of craftsmanship and artistry. In 1953, Borsani founded together with his twin brother Fulgenzio Borsani ‘Tecno’, a design and manufacturing company that produced items based on mechanical innovations and refined technicality. The ‘P40’ adjustable lounge chair (1953) has become the ideological manifesto of Borsani's Tecno program, and still remains the best known, exemplary piece in the Tecno catalogue. Other iconic works that were produced by Tecno were created by Gio Ponti (1891-1979), Vico cham (1920-2006), Carlo de Carli (1910-1999), Gae Aulenti (1927-2012), and many other influential Italian designers. Osvaldo Borsani died in 1985 in Milan. His diverse and sophisticated oeuvre is to be found in permanent collections, such as of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Neue Sammlung in Munich, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Trienalle di Milano Museum.
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