Essential, Edra, 2002
©Foto Massimo Listri
Francesco Binfaré (Milan 1939)
Binfaré learned to draw and paint from his father as a child. He became involved in art during the war. From 1969 to 1990, he worked as director of the Centro Cassina research laboratory and then as art director of the company. In the meantime, he spent time drawing and pursuing other creative outlets: in 1971 he founded Bracciodiferro with Mendini and Pesce, to produce limited series objects, and, in 1974, he set up Environmedia with Bellini and Saporito to experiment with new media. In 1980, he set up his own professional firm under the name Centro Design e Comunicazione, which collaborated with Cassina, Venini and De Padova, designing various installations and developing the concept for cultural events even for the Triennale and Galleria Milano. In 1990, while working on the series of large paintings entitled Tracce emozionali domestiche (Emotional Traces from the Domestic World), he entered into a lively dialogue with Pierre Restany, which reaffirmed his conviction that the couch can be viewed as a symbol, a domestic installation and a work of art. Drawing on this imaginative vision and product innovation, he began designing large, soft, unstructured and sculptural couches. In 1992, in collaboration with Edra, he produced design icons such as On the Rocks, Sfatto, Standard, Pack, which was product of the year at the 2017 Milan Furniture Fair, and Flap, which is also held in the collection at MoMA in New York. In 2018, Electa dedicated a monograph to his intense artistic journey, The Journey of Francesco Binfaré, by Christine Colin. In June 2022, ADI awarded Francesco Binfaré with the Compasso d’Oro alla Carriera. In September 2022, Mandragora published Francesco Binfaré by Giampaolo Grassi.
Francesco Binfaré’s sofas reflect the moment. Essential is a shifting jigsaw puzzle of primary elements. It has an understated, essential elegance, expressing “the need for a home and for roots, primary needs” in a “global and conformist time.” (Renata Cristina Mazzantini)