Powerhouse of the Italian Style

Founder of several of Italian design's most significant manufacturing companies, Dino Gavina began his creative career as a set designer in the 1940s. He first visited the X Triennale di Milano in 1953 at the behest of Lucio Fontana, whom he had befriended earlier in the decade. While in Milan, Gavina met many of Italy's most prominent architects and designers, including Carlo De Carli, Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, Carlo Molino, Enzo Mari, and Carlo Scarpa, and would soon work closely with many of them. 

With Fontana's encouragement, Gavina founded Gavina SpA in 1960. Design icons Achille Castiglioni and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni soon entrusted the production of their renowned Sanluca chair to the young company, kicking off an explosive decade for both Gavina and the history of Italian design. Two years later in 1962, Gavina established the lighting company FLOS with Cesare Cassina and Arturo Eisenkeil. In 1968, a third company emerged: Studio Simon, which Gavina co-founded with Maria Simoncini. 

Celebrated for his eagerness to create sharp fusions of art and design, Gavina worked with artist friends including Fontana and Man Ray to produce hybrid works that pushed the boundaries of both disciplines. In 1971, Gavina launched the 'Ultramobile' collection, working with Meret Oppenheim, Roberto Matta, and others to create furniture with a surrealist bent. Marcel Breuer once described Gavina as, "the most sensitive and impulsive furniture manufacturer [in] the world." For his part, Gavina understood objects as a language unto themselves, claiming that "production is the most effective communication tool of our time."

Visions of Italian Design

For more than 20 years Ugo Alfano Casati has been bringing fresh and interesting modern and contemporary Italian design to market. From rare and custom works by Italy’s most notable architects to classic forms and more recent limited edition works from the most radical and forward thinking minds, Casati’s vision of Italian Design is one of quality, beauty and historical significance. 

An Italian himself, Casati grew up in Milan. He worked for Alessi and Bodum in Paris before relocating to Chicago where he opened Casati Gallery to bring Italian design to the American market. He focused on Italian designs of the post-war era to present day, developing relationships with artists, designers, foundations and archives, adding valuable context and introducing new scholarship in the field alongside his elegant offerings. 

In 2007, Casati and Wright teamed together to create a book dedicated to the designs of Angelo Mangiarotti. The award-winning publication, featured full-color images and was published in English and Italian introducing the innovative designer to the broader market. 

Casati’s interest in fine craftsmanship and originality soon grew to include emerging design and he began to produce editions by makers whose aesthetics complimented his Italian sensibility: Jonathan Nesci, Philippe Nigro, among others. 

This special curated auction celebrates Casati Gallery and marks the beginning of Casati Projects, a new phase for Ugo Alfano Casati who endeavors to bring renewed energy and experience to the field of Italian design through curatorial and consulting services for discerning collectors and institutions across the globe.