Dino Gavina is best known for founding Gavina SpA, an Italian furniture production company established to manufacture the work of designers from the burgeoning Italian design scene of the 1950s and 60s. Gavina was an early producer of work by many influential Italian modernists, including the Castiglioni brothers, Carlo and Tobia Scarpa, Cini Boeri, Roberto Sebastian Matta, Vico Magistretti and Mario Bellini. Despite being a dedicated supporter of modern design, ultimately Gavina lacked the bookkeeping and business skills to prevent his company’s bankruptcy.
Interested in Gavina’s portfolio of designs and manufacturing facilities, Knoll bought the bankrupt company in 1968. Perhaps the most attractive aspect of the acquisition was the rights to Marcel Breuer’s Cesca, Wassily, and Laccio chairs and tables, which Dino Gavina had secured from Breuer some years earlier. For the next decade the Knoll catalog featured many designs from members of the so-called Gavina Group.