Italian architect-designer Paolo Buffa (1903-1970) was active between the 1930s and 1960s. He is known for an array of furniture designs that marry Neoclassical and Art Deco motifs with modernist principles.
Designing for the Milanese upper classes in the 1930s, Buffa’s designs were expertly handmade in fine materials, resulting in a quality that of rivalled French Art Deco legend Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann. In collaboration with talented ébénistes—like Mario Quarti—and specialized craftsmen, Buffa was able to slowly introduce modernised, streamlined techniques in the early 1940s, which allowed the designer to increase his output. The evolution of Buffa’s increasingly modern aesthetic is clear, from early Neoclassical cabinets with intricate ornamentation and opulent inlays, to '60s-era, pared down lounge chairs and consoles. In the 1960s, the designer collaborated with large-scale Italian manufacturer Cassina.
In addition to furniture design, Buffa presided over many architectural and interior design projects, which ranged from the design of tombs—his first commission—and a yacht for Egyptian royalty, to villas, hotels, opera houses, and offices.