Gabriella Crespi, an important Italian furniture designer, was born in 1922. She studied architecture at the Politecnico in Milan, and was inspired by the work of Le Corbusier’s and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Her pieces are unique and certainly fall into the category of art – her tables are not only sculptures but they often are complex with mechanisms which move. They require engineering. Her materials of choice are brass and bronze and she sometimes incorporates glass and lucite into her work too, especially her animals series and lamps.
Crespi’s first series of objects produced in the 1950’s was the "Small Lune Collection", steel moon-shaped sculptures. In the 1960s she collaborated with Maison Dior, creating home and table accessories and in the 1970s they collaborated on furniture. In 1968, a prototype of her first "Plurimo" Series table was exhibited in Dallas as an example of great Italian design.
In 1970, Gabriella’s began working with her daughter Elisabetta. They collaborated on the well-known and highly collected "Plurimi" series of tables. The name “Plurimi” is a tribute to Emilio Vedova. These pieces ("Magic Cube," "2000," "Dama," "Scultura") explore the interaction between space, volume and movement. That same year, Crespi introduced the "Kaleidoscope" and "Lune" sculptures and lamps that are extremely prized today. Between 1970 and 1974, she made cast pieces using the lost-wax method. These pieces include the sculpture “My Soul” (1974), the "Animali" collection in bronze and glass which reflected her love of nature , "Jewels," and "Gocce Oro." Between 1972 and 1975, she designed the "Quick Change Sofa", the "Z Bar" and "Z Desk", and the "Rising Sun" collection in bamboo. The "Fungo" lamps (1973) are also part of this collection. Always evolving, in 1976 she developed more "Plurimi" pieces such as the "Ellisse" and the "Cubo Tondo". She also designedthe "Sheherazade" collection, and the "Stone Sculptures".
Between 1978 and 1980, Crespi created the bookcase-block "Menhir" (1978), the"Yang Yin" collection (1979), and the two sculpted tables "Ara" (1979) and "Lunante" (1980). Next In 1980 Gabriella Crespi designed three new "Plurimi" pieces ("Blow Up," "Eclipse," "Sit & Sip") and in 1982 she presentedthe "Punto ’83," her last "Plurimo" table and a unique piece (one prototype was made in the same year), at Milan’s Museo della Scienza e della Tecnica as part of the exhibition "I Plurimi di Gabriella Crespi" introduced by Vanni Scheiwiller. In 1985 Crespi gave her the last interviews on her work as a designer before traveling to India to study with Sri Muniraji, her spiritual advisor whom she would stay with for 20 years. In 2005, Crespi returned to Italy and wrote her book "Ricerca di Infinito, Himalaya" which was published in 2007. In 2008, she created for Stella McCartney a limited reissue of some of her jewelry collection from the 1970s. The proceeds were donated to the Shree Baba Haidakhan Charitable and Research Hospital at Chilianaula, in the Himalayas, an institution specializing in eye care that was founded by Sri Muniraji. In 2011 Palazzo Reale dedicated the anthology "The Sign and the Spirit" to Gabriella Crespi. Gabriella Crespi now lives in Milan where she still devotes time to her spirituality.