Carlo Mollino

Turin, Italy

Born in Turin, Italy, in 1905, mid-century modern designer, architect, photographer, and writer Carlo Mollino was the son of prominent civil engineer Eugenio Mollino (1873–1953). The younger Mollino initially enrolled at Turin Polytechnic, and studied engineering for one year there before attending an art history course in Ghent, Belgium, for six months in 1929. He next enrolled at the School of Architecture at the University of Turin. After graduating in 1931, Mollino began working in his father’s practice and on independent projects. Notable designs from this period include the headquarters for the Società Ippica Torinese (1937–39; destroyed in 1960) in Turin and the headquarters of Confederazione degli Agricoltori (1933–34) in Cuneo. During this time he also began designing his first furnishings, including Casa Miller (1936), his own apartment where he photographed his first black-and-white portraits of women.

From the late 1940s until the mid-1950s, Mollino produced a vast number of works, from domestic commissions to Alpine resorts. During the late 1950s and 1960s, Mollino continued to work on a variety of projects, turning increasingly to technical projects like aircraft design and his passion for photography. His highly collectible furniture designs were all unique pieces, and his Polaroids—which primarily captured intimate, personal projects—were never shown publicly.

Mollino passed away in 1973 in Turin.