Friday, July 26, 2013

Chiavari Chairs

Italian chiarmakers and designers have made a huge impression on me.  Gio Ponti's Superleggera chair blew me away when I first saw pictures and read about it; light, strong, elegant, visually dynamic and simultaneously simple.  Chairs like this set the bar very high for would be chair designers.  Two winters ago I hunted down every word written about Gio Ponti in the English language, primarily through interlibrary loans.

Superleggera ad from the 50's.

Gio Ponti frequently cited the chairs of Chiavari as a significant source of inspiration for his design.  Subsequent research about Chiavari chairs yielded these two videos which I thought others might be interested in.  Don't expect drawknives and steam bending, but there are at least a million other things to learn from watching these videos over and over again.

The first is a short history of the Chiavari chair.  Watch for Franco Casoni's friendly treatment of his statue.

Fratelli Levaggi is a factory in Chiavari that makes these classic chairs.  This video details a new design.  The music makes you feel like you are on an epic adventure, which is exactly how the workshop feels when everything is going right.  Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tim,
    Great Post! Its a good reminder that traditional design and modern design aren't mutually exclusive. I've always been inspired by the Superleggera for that reason, so I'm thrilled to learn that there is a whole family of chairs that are every bit as elegant. Could you recommend books or other resources on The Chiavari chairs, or on Ponti?

    Many Thanks,