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.
Architonic id 1259631
After the huge success of the re-release of the freestanding Albero bookcase, a little-known yet very fascinating and masterful piece created by Gianfranco Frattini in 1960, Poltrona Frau is launching the Albero Limited Edition in olive wood. An exquisite material, olive is hard, compact, full of symbolic heritage and is highly prized in the furniture making trade.
Cultivated since ancient times and considered a sacred tree by the Greeks who girdled the heads of Olympic champions with crowns crafted from its branches, the olive is a symbol of peace in both eastern and western civilisations.
Every example in the Albero Limited Edition collection is unique thanks to the artisan furniture maker, who skilfully chooses the best combination of woods for each piece to create an elegant inlaid effect. The natural grain of the olive wood is emphasised in the vertical surfaces of the shelves with their elegant panel details. Each bookcase features the designer’s signature, the Poltrona Frau logo, the caption “Limited Edition” and laser-engraved numbering from 01|55 to 55|55 on the lower part of the frame.
Just like a thousand-year old olive tree, Albero is a sculpture for the centre of the room, which is best appreciated in a big space.
With its adjustable rack and pinions and piston-shelves, this unconventional bookcase has something of the shape of an engine drive shaft. However, made entirely of wood, it also has all the warmth and vitality of a tree.
The bookcase comprises just a few ingeniously interconnected elements, which show Gianfranco Frattini's attention to the laws of statics and dynamics. It has four vertical struts and two rack and pinion poles at the two ends, all crafted from solid olive wood. The shelves, produced in MDF with olive essence veneer, can be positioned in the holes along the struts as desired with a minimum of eight and a maximum of 12 shelves. A special metal cylinder is attached to the ceiling to hold the bookcase in place. The Albero's frame is attached to this and the floor thanks to two adjustable metal ferrules that ensure its stability. The height of the bookcase can vary between 2.66 m to 3.26 m.