Piero Bottoni


He was an architect, town planner, designer and a leading protagonist of Rationalism. He is best remembered as one of the creators of two plans that had a profound influence on the Italian urban landscape. These were the plan for the Val d’Aosta, patronised by Adriano Olivetti (1936) and the A.R. plan (Architetti Riuniti, 1944-45).
His work is central to the origins of modern architecture and design. The pieces of furniture designed by Bottoni 1920-1930 are classic examples of the beauty of his work, such as his chairs and tables which are clearly Bauhaus inspired (with their use of curved steel tubes). The most celebrated piece is the Comacina writing desk, designed in 1930 and produced by Zanotta in 1989, in keeping with the company’s tradition of re-launching historical design pieces. The stainless steel frame houses on one side a highly contemporary suspended storage unit. The design was a favourite with Bottoni and revived in his collections for the home and office designed from his studios in Milan, where he was also town councillor from 1956-64. Zanotta had already remade the Lira chair in 1968, first designed by Bottoni in 1920.
In 2016, on the occasion of the Milan Furniture Fair and thanks to the original designs conserved at the Polytechnic University of Milan and rendered available by the Archivio Bottoni, Zanotta reconstructed and put into production the Fenice, the first modern table with a central leg, designed in 1936, twenty years prior to the appearance of tables with similar supports in furniture catalogues. The designer had the first version of this table constructed in reinforced concrete cast on site, firmly anchored to the floor of the dining room of Villa Muggia in Imola. Despite the villa being bombed during World War II and today standing in ruins, the table – the real heart of the house – is still in place, testament to how certain avant-garde works are able to defy the passing of time.

(note: the product Lira mentioned in this article has been discontinued)