It was in 1950s Italy, and the notion that modern design should be equal to art resulted in the sculptural quality of mid-century Italian furniture. This interdisciplinary approach was practiced by such Italian masters as Carlo Mollino, Gio Ponti, Ico Parisi, and Franco Albini. The collaboration between Argentinian-born artist Lucio Fontana and architect Osvaldo Borsani was fruitful and resulted in a series of furniture which Borsani designed, where Fontana's artistic elements, sculptures and paintings were successfully incorporated. It was before Borsani would establish his industrial design firm Tecno.
With its sculptural dynamic extension, this wall-mounted console, perhaps the most famous of all of the duo's collaborative pieces, yet known only from period photographs (see below), was created for the interior of Casa S (it was offered for sale with Borsani’s original technical drawings and photographs). The design referenced Baroque ceiling frescoes that were at the core of Fontana's artistic creativity just before he completely transitioned to Spatialism (the art movement Fontana founded in Milan). The iconography of the gilded putti, which give the illusion of supporting the painted veil surrounding the marble slab suggest movement as they lift the console through space, has a strong Italian flavor. This expressive piece was the perfect addition to Borsani's gesamtkunstwerk bespoke interior.
Images are courtesy Phillips.