Interview with Paola Albini, granddaughter of the architect, president of the Franco Albini Foundation, Founder Franco Albini Academy and Casa Albini, who has made the method a lifestyle ​

Talent lies in doing. And he, Franco Albini, has pursued this principle throughout his professional life. His operational talent allowed him to receive the Compasso d'Oro three times, the Olivetti Prize for Architecture and the English one from the Royal Society of London, alongside the creation of numerous buildings and furnishings as well as carrying out teaching activities.

But that action demonstrates an extraordinary working method, based on simplification.

Every issue, according to this approach, can be broken down until the essence of the problem, the central nucleus, is reached. The project will focus on that, free from beliefs, ballast and everything that does not belong to it.

And it is precisely from this method that Paola Albini, granddaughter of the architect and president of Foundation dedicated to him, based his work.

«In a meeting I attended, my father codified his grandfather's method in five key words: decompose, search for the essence, recompose, verify, responsibility social.

For me, who am not an architect, they were enlightening words because they are consequential steps for any change you want to implement.

Indeed, this method is a powerful tool for transformation and change. It is a mindset, it develops a critical sense and allows everyone to discover their own value", she explains.

And this is how the Franco Albini Academy was born, with the idea of providing to give people the toolsnecessary to live in complexity (and adhere to their essence).

But how is this method applied?

"Franco Albini saw his profession as a social mission, he believed that people could change the world if their work was based on three factors: awareness of personal talent, the ability to read the needs of society and clients and the will to collaborate to leave a positive mark on the future" replies Paola.

To do all this, of course, takes time.

"An internal time, to be precise" continues Paola Albini, "The time of listening. My grandfatherspent a lot of time in silence to understand, for example, how to bevel an armrest...

The important thing is to understand what the essential things are, those deeply linked to the human and have to do with the research field in which one works. Which is to say to identify value priorities. And, going even deeper, we arrive at the question: what does happiness consist of?".

This happiness becomes rampant, at least in the methodological version of Paola Albini, a volcanic and creative granddaughter who has given life to many initiatives to enhance her grandfather's archive and his thoughts, from whom she takes up the drive to collaborate and attention to social responsibility.

So much so that since last summer the house in Sardinia designed by Studio Albini Associati has been become a place of inspiration (thanks also to the companies Cassina, knoll, Nemo Lighting, Arflex, Sikadesign, Bonacina, Exteta, Codice Icona and Officina della Scala, who re-edited and donated the pieces designed by Albini for furnish it), but also of design, thanks to a competition, which will be repeated next year, to transform the space and dialogue with the territory.

And above all exercise the art of co-creation.

«The format of the competition», continues Paola Albini, «focuses on a multifunctional space. Thus a module was designed and created which can be divided into three different things: the temple of listening, located in the garden of the house and intended for training, a commercial space and an exhibition space designed for the community and which will be located in a plot of land that the Municipality of Agliento has made available to us".

On the occasion of the Salone del Mobile, a smaller temple of listening will be exhibited at the State University of Milan where a docufilm on this first summer experience (and it will also be the opportunity to launch the theme of the next competition).

The winners of the first were three architects who had the opportunity to design together, create together and experience the space together, which in turn was a representation of the Albini method, which takes shape in the objects that inhabit the house.

Not a museum of his works, but the possibility of using and living with those objects is the underlying idea in this place, something actually unique, which makes us reflect on the applications in the present: that Can the method really still work in contemporary complexity?

«There is a misunderstanding because complexity often implies the ideas of problematicity and chaos. In today's hyper-connected world, the ability to educate oneself in complex thinking is the solution.

Then Franco Albini's method becomes a method to educate understanding, a skill to deal with complexity, a tool that he orients, without claiming to explain or simplify. And understanding only happens if there is sharing, listening and collaboration. The method, ultimately, is the message", concludes Paola Albini.

And voilà. Co-creating in a context capable of understanding is the fruit of the application of Albini-thought. Which acts as a compass in the present, becoming a communication tool. The medium is the message said the philosopher and sociologist Marshall McLuhan…

Paola Albini is President of the Franco Albini Foundation, Founder Franco Albini Academy and Casa Albini. Italian trainer, theater director and playwright. She seeks interdisciplinary languages to generate value and personal and professional growth through the albini method.

Cover image: Michele Silvestro