A book, edited by Emanuela Frattini Magnusson, recounts the work of Gianfranco Frattini: a designer who designed with love and attention (from yellow helmets for construction sites to sofas)

Attention determines gestures of love. Which can have many forms, including those of architecture and design, measures and creations designed for the lives of others. Gianfranco Frattini, an architect and designer from Padua but at home in Milan since his time at the Polytechnic, where he graduated in 1953, turns his attention into a true art.

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And now, twenty years after his death, Silvana Editoriale publishes a volume that collects a love story. Or perhaps, attention.

It is not important to distinguish cause and effect because his drawings are generative of loving objects, starting from the yellow protective helmet for construction site workers up to the Sesann padded items, sofas and armchairs swollen with cuddles for those who want to sit down.

With a lot of irony: Sesann stands for 'six years' in Milanese dialect, equal to the time elapsed between this series and the previous collaboration with Cassina.

A game which, however, also underlines the great changes that those six years represented in his conception of spaces and domestic life, moving from rigid armchairs to an informal vision of the living room.

After all, he learned to play very early, when he was welcomed into the studio of Gio Ponti, his teacher and mentor also of a philosophy of architecture, to become a juggler of the language of design, without ever stopping to amaze the audience.

And if from Ponti he takes up the idea that the object and the space are two realities inextricably linked in a specific relationship, Frattini puts the his personal interpretation of the world, giving life to a universe made of carefully constructed materials, colors and shapes.

This is demonstrated by some homes designed in every part by Frattini, where the colours, from floor to ceiling, had to act as a refrain to those of the furnishings and fabrics chosen, projects such as boalum, that extraordinary luminous snake produced by Artemide, but also the archive material, now preserved at the CSAC in Parma and used as a guideline for this publication (which followed an exhibition).

An example?

The work for the Ricci cutlery of 1972. The Frattini method emerges: an unknown number of drawings of forks, knives and spoons are accompanied by their sectional view and then come to observe their behavior in use: the spoon placed on the table, coupled, lifted...

The question of the use of the object captured Frattini's attention who, as his daughter Emanuela tells us, went from drawing to tests and prototypes.

This aspect of production certainly brought Frattini very close to the craftsmanship of which he was a great admirer. The relationship with the cabinetmaker Pier Luigi Ghianda, later a great friend, as well as the one with Cesare Cassina will be harbingers of great discoveries and inventions.

Without forgetting the fabrics. The first meeting is with Jole Gandolini, a creator of fabrics and weaver herself, soon to be a great friend and creative companion of Frattini for life. Geometric designs, often chess, waiting to use a figurative one, determines the spaces and designs the interiors of his creations, including his very famous folding doors.

So loved that they do not go unnoticed even across the border and become a source of inspiration for Dutch designers who have achieved worldwide fame.

But all this is just a detail. Because the volumeGianfranco Frattini. Design 1955/2023curated by Emanuela Frattini Magnusson (with texts by Massimo de Conti, Alessia Interlandi, Massimo Belotti, Ryan Turf, Maria Chiara Manfredi) is a catalog of gestures of love which, precisely as such, have influenced and will continue to influence the new designers of attention.