Gianfranco Frattini was born in Padua on 15 May 1926. He graduated with a degree in Architecture from the Politecnico di Milano in 1953.
Frattini opened his own professional practice in Milan, after having worked in the office of his teacher and mentor Gio Ponti. Frattini became an industrial designer by default when he lacked appropriate lighting and furniture for his interiors. His collaboration with Cesare Cassina for his namesake company started in 1954, followed by collaborations with many other manufacturers, such as Bernini, Acerbis, Fantoni, Luci, Knoll, Lema, Artemide (for whom among others pieces with Livio Castiglioni he designed the historic “Boalum” lamp, a true masterpiece) and many others. In 1956 he co-founded ADI - Associazione per il Disegno Industriale - and throughout his career he practiced both industrial design and architecture, focusing mostly on interiors. He was a board member of the Triennale di Milano. Great connoisseur of wood craftsmanship, he forged a long and fruitful professional partnership with the master craftsman Pierluigi Ghianda.
Frattini won many professional awards and prizes, among them the prestigious Compasso d'Oro.
Gianfranco Frattini died in Milan on 6 April 2004.
His products are displayed in the permanent collections of the biggest design and decorative art museums in the world.