Reissues of rattan furniture by Albini-Helg at the Salone 2022


Belladonna sofa and Ottoman, Sika-Design, photo courtesy

From Fifties Milan to Denmark today: seating, sofas, poufs and mirrors by the duo Albini-Helg come to life again in the Sika-Design catalogue. Free, light, surprising as then. And also sustainable

Controlled fantasy in the quest for “the meaning of things”.  This is the creative identikit of Franco Albini (1905-1977), always searching for a method that would lead to the poetry of lightness through a process of progressive elimination of the superfluous and stripping away to the essence.  He also applied this method to his design objects, pushed to the limits of sustainability. A process based on a continuous dialogue and exchange of ideas with those who would then make these works with their own hands and, above all going into the technical details and structural specifics.

Franco Albini showed he realized the importance and nobility of the popular tradition, paying homage and creatively rereading the craft technique of basket makers in the design of two armchairs, presented at the 9th Triennale di Milano, which then became icons of Italian design: Margherita – in wicker and rattan, the first armchair “without legs” of Italian design, styled in collaboration with Gino Colombini – and Gala, in rattan alone, conceived with Ezio Sgrelli.  These armchairs that are the begetters of an extended family of pieces in this resistant  natural material that fascinated both Albini and his alter ego, the architect Franca Helg (1920-1989), well known for this particular passion, so much so that she surrounded herself with various pieces in her home at Galliate Lombardo.


Margherita in Franca Helg’s house © Fondazione Franco Albini

“Technology and materials,” wrote Albini, “are the means of expression that we architects have.”  He studied the elements that commonly constituted a piece of furniture and from there began that process  of eliminating whatever was superfluous, taking full advantage of the properties of the material. This was his hallmark, the forerunner of a particular concern for sustainability, which is still fascinating today.

A few years ago, for example, the artist Leonor Antunes created a series of works exhibited at the HangarBicocca inspired by architects and designers of Italian Modernism, including Albini and Helg, while at the Salone del Mobile.Milano 2022 the Danish Sika-Design, a historic company specializing in handcrafted wicker furniture, is presenting various reissues of rattan pieces from the fifties, produced in close collaboration with the designers' descendants, and with names chosen by the company itself.


The elegant Belladonna sofa, from 1951, features a curved edge of the backrest that also continues into the short slats of the armrests. The original Belladonna sofa was made in rattan but today Sika-Design also presents the sofa in a outdoor version. The Belladonna Exterior is handcrafted in aluminim and ArtFibre with the same original techniques. Inspired by rattan, the frame has been painted by hand to give the exterior sofa the same warm look.


Belladonna sofa, Sika-Design, photo courtesy

Ottoman, also dated 1951, is a multifunctional piece to be used both as a seat and a support surface.  A sculptural presence, available in small (Ø 55 cm) or large (Ø 65 cm) versions, its material is simultaneously a supporting structure, a feature that gives an appearance of lightness. The cage construction, on the other hand,  offers considerable elasticity making sitting comfortable.


A chair with armrests, sofa and bench make up the Bistro collection, elegant in its sinuous and curved lines, which will be presented in a preview at the Salone del Mobile. The interwoven structural pattern of rattan beneath the seat is an Art Deco echo, a markedly decorative feature endowing it with a retro refinement.  Available in black or ivory flecked with black.


Bistro Collection, Sika-Design, photo courtesy

Equally ornamental, the Luella mirror is making its debut at the Salone del Mobile: a slender oval profiled by interlacing geometric rattan that looks like embroidery stitched around the frame and, if seen from further off, imaginative beams of light.


Sika-Design’s catalogue includes other pieces by the two masters of design: the Luna armchair, for the first time at the Salone, and the Fratellino trolley.


We wish to thank the Fondazione Franca Albini for its collaboration


Luella, Mirror, Sika-Design, photo courtesy


Belladonna sofa, details, Sika-Design, photo courtesy


Ottoman, small and big_Sika-Design, photo courtesy

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Check out the previews of the products that will be unveiled at the Salone del Mobile.Milano 2022

19 May 2022