Osvaldo Borsani was a true innovator. Born in 1911 the architect, designer and visionary left his mark at a crucial time in Italy’s design history. He was also the visionary figure behind influential mid-century Italian furniture brand Tecno. Borsani became quietly respected for his high-quality functional and pioneering designs that added a new dimension to both commercial and home furnishings. He was instrumental in bringing modernism to Italy but remained committed to the Italian tradition of fine craftsmanship. He had created and cultivated an attitude of mind which encouraged craftsmanship and an attention to detail and quality. Almost everything he designed reflects the best of 20th-century Italian design—from the soulfulness of pre-war artisanal production to the high-tech innovations that followed World War II.


Mid-Century Italian Cabinet By Osvaldo Borsani

Osvaldo Borsani Buffet

Osvaldo Borsani Buffet With Bar

Villa Borsani, a rare surviving example of Osvaldo Borsani’s architecture, is located in the small town of Varedo, just north of Milan. It has sat unoccupied since the final resident, Carla Borsani, wife of Fulgenzio, the designer’s twin brother and business partner, passed away five years ago. Because the home has remained within the family from the beginning, very little has changed over the last 65 years. And for the most part, this treasure of design history is unknown and unseen—a lost opportunity for design lovers, because Villa Borsani offers a fascinating blend of styles bridging the two complementary approaches that defined Italian design in the 20th century: traditionalism and modernism. To see Villa Borsani is, in fact, to understand Osvaldo Borsani’s place in Italian design history.

The seeds of Borsani’s philosophy had been sown when he designed the villa, shortly after graduating from the Politecnico di Milano. Completed in 1943, the brick-and-stucco house comprised rigorously articulated volumes in a clearly rationalist structure. Every detail was meticulously planned, from the elongated windows right through to contributions by artists such as Lucio Fontana and Agenore Fabbri, Borsani’s friends since high school. The villa became the epitome of sophisticated modern living, much admired and widely emulated. Borsani died in 1985, and the villa stayed in the family until it was turned into the Osvaldo Borsani Archive in 1991.



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