An icon of Italian mid-century design, Gabriella Crespi left her mark on the world both through her sculptural designs and ethereal persona. To date, Wright has offered nearly 100 of her works at auction and continues to recognize her poetic design spirit.
I was inspired only by the universe.
Did You Know?
While studying architecture at the Politecnico Institute in Milan, Gabriella Crespi was highly influenced by the work of Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright likely for their attention to nature.
One of her popular "metamorphic" furniture pieces from the Plurmi series, named in honor of the Italian painter Emilio Vedova, is the Magic cube bar which features retractable brass leaves.
At the height of her career in the 1980s, Crespi moved to India where she spent nearly 20 years in spiritual retreat.
In 2012, the Archivio Gabriella Crespi was established to promote and preserve the designer’s work and is today directed by her daughter, Elisabetta Crespi.
Once asked what was her greatest pleasure in life, she responded, "Start anew from zero, this is my greatest pleasure."
Auction Results Gabriella Crespi
Gabriella Crespi 1922–2017
An icon of Italian mid-century design, Gabriella Crespi left her mark on the world both through her poetic, sculptural designs and her ethereal persona. A unique duality exists in her work combining geometric forms with sensuous lines that exude glamour while still remaining humble. Her designs are marked by fine craftsmanship, created by a skilled Milanese work force with whom Crespi worked closely with, in a range of materials including brass, bronze, glass, bamboo, and Lucite. Many of her most popular designs are unique and were released in small quantities making her pieces highly sought after.
She was born near Florence in 1922, but moved to Milan in 1944 to study architecture at the Politecnico Institute where she became influenced by the work of Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright. In the 1950s, she debuted the “Small Lune Collection” of crescent-shaped forms in steel and in the 1960s she began collaborating with Maison Dior designing home accessories and furniture. In 1968, a showcase of great Italian design hosted in Dallas, Texas brought the prototype for her famed Plurmi series to light. Some of her most successful designs from the series were the Z desk (1974) and the bronze Ellisse table (1974) in which she collaborated with her daughter Elisabetta continuing to design together through the early 1980s. Many pieces from the series are multifunctional and can be rearranged with retractable elements.
At the peak of her fame, Crespi moved to India where she spent nearly 20 years in spiritual retreat returning to Milan in the early 2000s. Some of her later collaborations included a limited reissue of vintage jewelry designs for Stella McCartney in 2008. Throughout her career, she was adored by her celebrity clientele and elite social circle including Audrey Hepburn, Hubert de Givenchy, Gunter Sachs, Gianni Versace, Princess Marina of Savoy, Queen Paola of Belgium, and the royal families from Persia and Qatar. In 2012, the Archivio Gabriella Crespi was established to promote and preserve the designer’s work and is today directed her daughter.
My mother never stopped drawing; her sketchbook followed her everywhere. She was inexhaustible, almost consumed by an impulse to create; she felt that she was channeling a higher form of energy, much stronger than herself.