Lehni factory hall, Dübendorf 1980

1922 – Rudolf Lehni Senior founds his sheet metal and roofing company close to Zurich’s art gallery and theatre. The history of the company Lehni is closely connected to the world of art and culture right from the start. In 1932, the Swiss architect Max Bill commissions Lehni to produce his famous "Well-Relief" (Wave Relief) sculpture.

1956 – Rudolf Lehni Junior takes over the management of the company and introduces significant expansion measures. The company is a sought-after partner for the completion of challenging sheet metal and roofing work. Rudolf Lehni also teaches Material Science and Metal Processing at Zurich University of the Arts.

Rudolf Lehni, Zumikon 1978 - Photograph of Doris Lehni Quarella

1964 – Rudolf Lehni meets Andreas Christen at Zurich University of the Arts. The production of an aluminium shelf for the Expo 1964 fair in Lausanne, Switzerland, marks a decisive step towards the company's furniture manufacturing activities.

As the Head of the Expo's Composition and Design sector, Max Bill explicitly recommends Christen and Lehni to the Swiss Booksellers and Publishers Association as the ideal partnership for the development of a bookshelf to match the stand in its pavilion.

Pavillon Max Bill. Lausanne Expo 1964
© Musée historique de Lausanne

1975 – The company moves into its new building in the Swiss town of Dübendorf, which was designed by the architect Ernst Gisel. Nowadays, the factory is still located in Dübendorf's industrial estate as a stand-alone building.

The company's activities start to move increasingly towards the field of industrial manufacturing. Lehni continues to expand his collection of furniture together with Andreas Christen.

Lehni Factory - Ernst Gisel Architekt, Dübendorf 1975

1981 – After the early death of Rudolf Lehni in 1981, his wife Mrs Doris Lehni-Quarella takes over the management of the company. Her passion for continuing the focus introduced by her husband is also reflected in the photographic documentation of Lehni furniture.

Andreas Christen, 1983 - Photograph of Doris Lehni Quarella
Doris Lehni Quarella furniture exposition - Cologne 1985

1984 – The precision of Lehni's metal processing work also attracts the attention of the American minimalist artist Donald Judd, who views the shelf designed by Andreas Christen when he visits Dübendorf in 1984. After viewing the shelf, Donald Judd is inspired to create his own collection of furniture. He decides to produce 15 different pieces of furniture available in aluminium or sheet copper. Each piece of furniture is numbered and stamped.

Donald Judd, Zumikon 1984 - Photograph of Doris Lehni Quarella
Doris Lehni Quarella

1998 – Doris Lehni-Quarella passes away unexpectedly. She bequeaths the company to her nephew Antonio Monaci. As a graduate of the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Florence, Italy, Monaci has always had a high affinity for design and photography, which leads to the production of designs for the Lehni collection, for example the Lehni Sofa in 2008. He also produces several of the photographs used by Lehni.

Antonio Monaci

The siblings Ursula und Heinz Menet continue the operational management of the company Lehni AG in the spirit and tradition of its founding generation. A decisive factor behind the further development of the company is the appointment of new designers who grasp the artistic spirit of Lehni AG. They use their designs to show how Lehni furniture is defined by clear contours and originality.

The production of customised furniture for national and international companies that Lehni successfully develops in cooperation with architects, graphic designers and builders plays an increasingly important role in the diversification of the company.

Ursula and Heinz Menet

2014 – Lehni presents its aluminium kitchen. Our factory has been well known for creating innovative solutions with minimalist designs right from the start. We are happy to use our many years of expertise in aluminium processing and our intensive cooperation with architects and leading kitchen appliance manufacturers to design your dream kitchen.

Lehni aluminium kitchen, detail