After graduating with a degree in architecture from Milan Politecnico, Franco Albini straddled the fields of furniture, product design, architecture, urban planning, and interior design. While working under famed Italian designer Gio Ponti, Albini developed an appreciation for combinations of traditional craft techniques and modern forms.
As his career evolved, Albini became an important member of the Italian Neo-Rationalist architecture movement. His portfolio is recognized for remarkably transparent furniture designs, which often feature basic, near-raw materials and make little effort to conceal their internal structure or production processes .
In 1949, Knoll introduced an Albini-designed desk, and two chairs — one with metal legs and one with wooden legs. The simple desk, a representative example of Albini’s aesthetic of transparency, is still produced by Knoll today.