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Design Icon: Paolo Buffa

​Read the story of Italian architect and designer Paolo Buffa, from his debut in the world of design at the end of the 1920s in the studio of Gio Ponti and Emilio Lancia, to the opening of his own studio in mid 1930s. Discover a selection of Buffa's designs that today are manufactured by cabinet maker Eredi Marelli, the evolution of an original artisanal workshop founded in 1934 in Cantù, the heart of the famous furniture-making district close to Milan.

Paolo Buffa's debut in the world of design takes place at the end of the 1920s in the studio of ​Gio Ponti and Emilio Lancia, immersing himself in an atmosphere committed to the reinterpretation of the Lombard classicism and Milanese architecture. In the early 1930s, he founded his own practice.

While professionally dedicated to the construction of architectural works, especially housing and private villas and venturing further into complex residential buildings, Buffa was expecially passionate about furtniture and product design, an area where he remained faithful to a figurative repertoire of substantial classicism, while not disdaining impulses of authentic modernity, ranging from different eras and styles, which would become an inexhaustible source of inspiration over time. His pieces are manufactured today by cabinet maker ​Eredi Marelli, the evolution of an original artisanal workshop founded in 1934 in Cantù, the heart of the famous furniture-making district by Milan.

Paolo Buffa was extremely active in the vibrant Milanese design scene, partecipating in the Milano Triennale editions of 1930, 1933, 1936. His pieces and works evolved over time thanks to a sensitivity acquired by simplifying form and shapes, and in proposing sophisticated material combinations: the use of travertine for the floor with geometric Carrara white texture for the walls, with brushed brass to define the details of the fireplace, curating the most minute aspects and at the same creating all-around stunning visuals. For Buffa, the same typological themes and sometimes the same model would be the object of continuous exploration until reaching a final synthesis, always focused on elegant and measured proportions, balanced compositions, and rigorous and refined décor, as well as in the use of the use of exclusive materials.

His vision reached its peak in 1947 with the participation in the exhibition "Lo stile nell'Arredamento Moderno" alongside other stellar names including Gio Ponti and Franco Albini. The exhibition was created with the intention of celebrating the design flair and importance of exceptional quality in product design, and is still remembered today as an essntial snapshot of Italian style in furnishings. Modern designs associated with perfect execution, the pieces presented by Paolo Buffa included a drop-down desk in opaque rosewood with maple interiors, in which thin thicknesses with curved surfaces are reconciled and proposed in an unusual freestanding version.

Buffa made of his passion and eye for material sourcing a real distinctive feature, exporting and implementing exotic components such as prized mahogany from Cuba to Brasilian rosewood, from citronnier to press walnut. His design language was always coherent with current times and congenial to the wisdom of furniture manufacturing, representing an outpost of strong innovation in the panorama of Italian craftsmanship that, today more than ever, is increasingly focused on the search for the bridge between the knowledge and ideas of the designers and the ancitent, fine techniques of a craft workshop.

Today, these values are strongly represented by ​Eredi Marelli, the cabinet makers that produces Paolo Buffa's piece, and that is able to translate that love for exceptional quality and good design through artisanal processes and incredibly detailed productions.

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