Albini’s Veliero Bookshelf Comes Back to Life at WPA Chicago


On May 2, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., WPA Chicago will host a special, educational event and reception in honor of Fondazione Franco Albini’s legendary bookcase, the “Veliero,” which was originally created by the Italian designer in 1940 as a one-off piece for his house in Via De Togni, Milan.

The bookshelf famously appeared on the front cover of Domus magazine in July 1941 and went on to gain notoriety and iconic status in Italian design culture because it symbolized the Italian concept of attributing multiple complex functions to a domestic object. “Veliero” is the Italian word for sailboat, and is a reference to the bookshelf’s nautical styling—layered glass shelves are suspended with a system of steel ties from two ash wood beams, and books on the shelf appear to be floating in the air.

Albini’s creation defied the conventions of balance and subsequently collapsed in his house in 1960; however, after six years of intense research and work, Italian furniture company Cassina has succeeded in creating a stable iteration of Albini’s innovative piece, and has permanently added it to Cassina’s I Maestri Collection. The public is invited to watch as Cassina’s newly re-engineered version of the “Veliero” is constructed from scratch in WPA’s showroom. In addition, Marco Albini, son of the architect and director of the Franco Albini Foundation, will discuss the history and evolution of the bookshelf. Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to


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