Franco Albini minimalist desk for Knoll International ca 1949

Rare, early edition writing desk designed by Franco Albini and manufactured in license of Knoll International in Belgium 1949. The design of this “Albini desk” originates from 1928. Knoll introduced the desk in 1949. The simple and clean lined desk, a representative example of Albini’s aesthetic of transparency, is still in production by Knoll today.
The cross shaped beam, the larger rectangular shape of the feet and the larger and differently designed “holders” of the glass top indicate this desk is an early or probably even first edition production of the desk. It has a significantly different appearance if compared to the “sleeker” later productions.
The early models are hand-painted with a white painted metal frame and black painted wooden drawer cabinet. The desk is in fully original condition with trace of age and usage. The glass top is original with minor wear. The original Knoll International label on the bottom of the drawers, shows this desk was originally released in black and white.

The previous and first owner of the desk worked at the furniture department at Bijenkorf Amsterdam which was lead by architect and designer Benno Premsela. In contrary to the common conservative taste in this post war period of time in the Netherlands, De Bijenkorf was already selling modernist design furniture the 1940s. Amongst other pieces designed for Knoll International, this desk was part of the Bijenkorf collection at the time.

Aloi, Roberto, (1947) L’Arredamento Moderno, terza serie, Milano, Editore U.Hoepli, picture 235.
Sembach, Klaus-Júrgen (1982) Contemporary Furniture, An International Review of Modern Furniture, 1950 to Present, London, The Design Council p.200

Franco Albini was an Italian designer and architect best known for his chairs, tables, and other furniture. Combining ergonomic focus with regimented geometric form, Albini’s use of traditional materials created striking contours. Born on October 17, 1905 in Robbiate, Italy, he studied at the Politecnico di Milano University until 1929, wherein he apprenticed for the famed Italian architect Gio Ponti. Gaining notoriety through exhibiting at the Milan Triennale in 1930, the designer quickly rose to international acclaim, working with companies such as Knoll, Arflex, and Poggi. His most widely recognized piece is the self-referential Albini Desk, which was released in 1928.

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DesignerFranco AlbiniManufacturerKnoll International ModelModel 1928Year1949 1st editionMaterialoriginal glass top, painted metal, woodMeasurementsW 120 x D 67 x H 71 cmQuantity1Conditionvery good all original condition PriceSOLD

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