The Buffa Effect
Mid-century Italian designer and architect, Paolo Buffa, created designs that define modern elegance, striking the perfect balance between simplicity and subtle opulence. His clean lines are softened by tapered and angled details, beautiful woods, intricate marquetry, and a fine attention to detail. Each piece is excellently crafted with care, resulting in stylish, comfortable, and functional works of art.
Armchair with daggerlike ebonized legs, circa 1949 | AD
Burled walnut and rosewood buffet, circa 1950 | JMF
He received his degree in architecture from Politechnico de Milan in 1927, and worked briefly in the studio of Gio Ponti before opening his own studio in the early 1930’s. This was the beginning of a period of modernization in the interiors industry, initiated by the debate over the necessity of luxury versus the moral obligation to provide good furniture to the masses. Buffa was one of the pioneers of this growth, leading Italian design into the 20th century.
Liquor cabinet with foliage and butterflies inlaid, circa 1946 | AD
Warm walnut and burled ash buffet, circa 1950 | JMF
He built relationships with the established cabinetmakers of the time, who were known for their exceptional quality, but also their resistance to change. He taught them to streamline production and use better techniques and simpler designs, which allowed them to create small series of furniture, instead of one piece at a time. His unique and sophisticated designs were therefore created at the finest level of craftsmanship, while still maintaining a reasonable price point for the time.
Green velvet armchairs, circa 1940 | JMF
Rare cabinet inlaid with brass stars, circa 1940 | AD
According to Roberto Rizzi, a professor and Buffa expert, Buffa’s pieces speak “an eclectic language that mixes the Milanese matrix with modern taste”. His fashionable stylings drew the attention of kings and influential patrons all over the world, requesting him to decorate or design their salons, palaces, and yachts— and they still draw our attention today. Peruse the prized Paolo Buffa pieces we have available in our gallery here!