Renzo Frau

Designer

Cagliari / Italy

Lorenzo Frau, known as Renzo (1881-1926), was the founder of Poltrona Frau, the furniture brand specialising in leather products that bears his name. Frau grew up in Cagliari but moved to Milan for his military service. Once discharged, he married and moved to Turin, where he began working as a sales agent first for the Gribaudi company and then for Dermoide Patent, a manufacturer of imitation leather products. Thanks to this job, he had the opportunity to travel to Great Britain and discover Chesterfield armchairs, whose potential he immediately grasped. He soon began to import them to Italy. Shortly after that, in 1912, he opened a workshop, expanding the range of products to include French and Central European-inspired models. In a short time, he went from producing armchairs in clear styles to designing original models personally.

A far-sighted visionary, Frau also registered his trademark with the Turin Chamber of Commerce, becoming the manufacturer of a series of armchairs destined to mark the history of Italian made furniture and design. When he was called for military duty during WWI, his wife, Savina Pisati, replaced him in his work. Frau died prematurely in 1926, and his wife took over the company with their son Ugo. Thanks to her husband's rich archive of drawings, she increased Poltrona Frau production in the following years until it became a globally-renowned brand. Over the century, Poltrono Frau has furnished private and royal residences, restaurants, hotels, theatres, museums, political headquarters, transatlantic liners, aeroplanes and cars.

Today, Poltrona Frau continues to produce some of the models designed by its founder - genuine emblems of the brand. The Chester capitonné armchair reminiscent of the classic Edwardian style, and available in a sofa version was included in the 1912 catalogue; the 1919 with opulent and rococo lines and equipped with a lectern (now replaced by a brass plate holder), inspired by the 128 model, was in the catalogue starting in 1919; the Vanity Fair (originally "model 904"), born from one of Frau's designs, produced in 1930 after his death has become the brand's symbol. ... More ... less
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