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Italian Mid Century walnut bar cart, or serving trolley, by Gianfranco Frattini for Cassina with two removable solid wood trays.


Architect and designer Gianfranco Frattini was one of the most important Italian designers of the 20th Century. During his fifty-year career, he distinguished himself in interior and product design and was at the very heart of establishing the phrase ‘Made in Italy’ as a guarantee of quality and style.


After graduating in Milan in 1953, he began his career working for Gio Ponti in his studio where many important designers visited, including Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer. That same year, he entered a competition organised by Fede Cheti, presenting a small armchair, but without success. However, the entrepreneur Cesare Cassina, who had made the prototype, suggested that the young designer put the armchair into production, and so started a partnership that lasted a lifetime.


Although Fratteni worked with numerous design houses throughout his career including Tacchini, Poltrona Frau, Bonacina, Arteluce, Bernini and Knoll, it was his early work with Cassina that started him on the road to greatness.


His favoured material was wood and he was known to design in rosewood, teak and walnut. The wood he used varied and often infused a particular design as he worked within the characteristics of the wood itself.  He studied every detail carefully and followed all the steps of the production of every object he ever created. From laboratories, research and development departments and assembly lines, he could be found working on solutions together with the manufacturers. And it was because of this approach that he forged many influential friendships, one of the most important being with Pierluigi Ghianda, the master cabinetmaker, who helped him express his creativity in wood.


This bar cart, or serving trolley, is a perfect example of his early work characterised by simple modernist lines combined with an elegant practicality. The cart rolls on wheels and also has two removable trays; so you can either roll the cart into position or simply load the trays and bring them to your dining or coffee table.


The cart itself features superbly constructed jointing work and beautiful figured trays and remains in ‘found’ condition – in other words it has not been repaired or refinished in any way, so is in truly original condition with wear consistent with age and use. That said, you could of course have it renovated if you so wish, but I personally just loved the beauty of its age and how it shows in the finish throughout. It also benefits from having the original Cassina label still affixed to the bottom frame as shown in the photos.


It’s designed as  bar cart but of course could be used for serving tea or coffee and food too – or could also be used for storage or to display books, magazines, glass, photo frames, lighting or other nick-nacks. 



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Mid century bar cart or serving trolley by Gianfranco Frattini for Cassina

  • Materials
    Walnut and metal

    Italian Mid Century

    Era or date of production


    Trolley: H60 x W80 x D45cm
    Trays: H2.5 x W69 x D41cm


    Number of pieces included in price
    1 (includes the trays as shown)


    Good vintage condition


    Do you have questions or would like to discuss this item further? Please contact me via the contact page HERE. I'm always happy to help.



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