At the end of the ‘50s Gianfranco Frattini (1953-2004) designed an almost visionary object: the Albero bookcase. A little-known icon which Poltrona Frau now presents in a faithful re-edition. Self-supporting, rotating, adjustable to suit all tastes, describing it as a mere bookcase is somewhat reductive. Rather, it is a sculpture or a spectacular installation for the centre of the room which expresses its full potential when afforded plenty of space.
Its name - the Italian for tree but also for drive shaft - perhaps has a dual source of inspiration, the boundary between mechanics and nature. With its adjustable rack and pinions and piston-shelves, this unconventional bookcase is reminiscent of the structure of an engine drive shaft. But as it is produced entirely from wood, it also has all the warmth and vitality of a tree.
Gianfranco Frattini, apprentice to Gio Ponti and co-founder of ADI, was one of the leading figures in Italian interior and industrial design. Wood was without doubt his preferred material and he loved to follow it closely as it was being crafted. The ability of the craftsman is the indispensable and fascinating conduit through which his projects take shape. And this modern reproduction of the Albero required Poltrona Frau to carry out high-quality cabinet work whose complexity represented a real challenge.
The bookcase is made up of a few elements that are ingeniously connected to each other in a way that highlights Gianfranco Frattini's attention to the laws of statics and dynamics. It has four vertical uprights and two rack and pinion pylons at the two ends, and all of these are in solid Canaletto walnut veneer. The shelves, in MDF with Canaletto walnut veneer, can be positioned in the holes of the uprights according to taste for a minimum of eight and a maximum of twelve shelves.
To hold the bookcase in place, a special metal cylinder is attached to the ceiling. The structure of the Albero is attached to this and to the floor with two adjustable metal ferrules that guarantee its stability.
The height of the bookcase can vary between 2.66 m and 3.26 m.
Designer: Gianfranco Frattini
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