Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956), Austrian architect and designer, was one of the great protagonists of the artistic and cultural scene of his time. He trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna under Otto Wagner, who also employed him for some time in his studio, and in 1897 was among the protagonists of the foundation of the Viennese Secession, an association of artists and architects who opposed the excessively ornamental style of the works exhibited at the Künstlerhaus in Vienna and who decided to open their own space to exhibit works of new conception. His companions in this adventure were his friend Joseph Maria Olbrich, the painter Gustav Klimt and Koloman Moser. With the latter Hofmann was the protagonist of an experience that was to have a strong impact on the history of design: in 1903 together they founded the Wiener Werkstätte, workshops of artistic craftsmanship on the model of the English Arts & Crafts which proved to be at the forefront also in the definition of a new relationship between designer and craftsman. However, by Hofmann's will, the works of the Werkstätte chose to keep the quality of the materials high and, consequently, the prices, thus renouncing against the initial intentions the possibility of developing as a "democratic art" with which they were born. Later Hoffmann was also among the founders of the Deutscher Werkbund, an association of designers and workshops which, starting from past experiences, will try to better define the relationship between the artistic conception of objects and mass production. Hoffmann's style, both in architecture and design, was based on a careful treatment of the surfaces, and in the furnishings (reissued mostly by the Austrian company Wittmann, but also by brands such as Gebrüder Thonet Vienna, Ton and, for tapestries, Backhausen) often takes the form of a grid pattern. His masterpiece is considered the Stoclet Palace (1905-11) near Brussels, while in the last phase of his career he struggled to completely detach himself from the ornamental motifs of the past and he had to face a long professional decline.