It is surprising how little is Luisa Morassi known outside her hometown, Gorizia. Nevertheless, she was a prominent figure in architecture and design, being the first female architect graduating at the Polytechnic in Milan in 1928, assisting Gio Ponti, and being an active supporter of quality craftsmanship in her city.

Born in Gorizia in 1903, Elvira Luisa Morassi was an architect, designer and teacher. She moved to Milan in 1923 to continue her studies at the Polytechnic, having Piero Portaluppi as her teacher. After her internship at Gio Ponti's studio and sometime in Paris, she returned to Gorizia, where she was the first woman architect taking part in the Building Commission with Max Fabiani and obtaining the management of Bottega d’Arte from the local industrial association. Here she selected local handicraft objects for promotional exhibitions. As a designer, she focused on designing furniture and small ceramic and wooden objects. In 1933 she took part in the V Triennale of the Decorative and Industrial Arts and Modern Architecture, winning a silver medal. She died in Gorizia in 2002.

Drop-leaf desk with geometric designs; 1959.


Double bedroom made by the Artisan Community of Wood in Salcano, Gorizia; 1940.


Curved walnut screen with geometric inlays and copper supports, made by Gorizia’s School of Art; ‘60s.



‘In addition to designing architecture for him (Gio Ponti), it was especially when some client came with specific requested furniture that Ponti made me work, as he knew I would easily interpret clients’ wishes.’ Luisa Morassi Bernardis


Living room furniture, china and colored pencil on tracing paper; 1930s.


Bar unit displayed at the III Provincial Exhibition of Gorizia (1933) and selected for Florence Craft Fair in 1934.


Magazine rack; ‘50s?.

Series of wooden vases made by Gorizia’s School of Art - workshop; 1960s.

Elvira Luigia Morassi, prima donna-architetto al Politecnico
Intervista a Luisa Morassi, di Laura Colussi
Elvira Luigia Morassi, prima donna-architetto al Politecnico, di Diego Kuzman
Catalogo della mostra "Luisa Morassi Bernardis architetto–l'arte di progettare il quotidiano", a cura di F. Cabrini e A. Delneri, 2001

Dizionario biografico dei friulani
Sistema Informativo Unificato per le Sopraintendenze Archivistiche, Luisa Morassi

Luisa Morassi portrait by Veno Pillon, anni ‘30.

Ph. Carlo Slauzero