Even for a country known for high end innovating design ideas, Italy has produced a great amount of popular chairs. Here we have complied the most prominent ones.
It would be unfair to neglect to mention the curule seat or “sella curulis” in Latin. This folding chair had ceremonial significance in Ancient Rome. The curule chair was known for being rather uncomfortable which went well with its use as an official chair or even throne. There always had to be an understanding that no government position is cushy and you will not be able to stay in it for two long Just like the famous Greek klismos chair, sella curulis inspired furniture designers for centuries. In the twentieth centuries it served as one of the prototypes for the Barcelona chair created by Mies van der Rohe.
The Chiavari chair, affectionately known as Chiavarina, was designed by Giuseppe Gaetano Descalzi (1767 – 1855) in 1807. At that time, Italy was under full control of the Napoleonic France and the Chiavari chair (named for the town where it was made) was a product of the ensuing cultural exchange. The predominant style in early 19th century France was called Empire and Descalzi ingeniously adapted French Empire chairs. His product was lighter, more streamlined and easier to produce. It was an instant hit and took over the market for many years. Today Chiavari remains one of the most popular models of furniture used in ballrooms and rental halls.
Designed by Gio Ponti in 1955 and produced by the Italian company Cassina since 1957, Superleggera is an extremely light, but durable chair (drop tested from the fourth floor). It was also specifically designed not to have any other qualities or adhere to any particular style.
Designed in 1958 by Franco Albini, this is one of the most luxurious woven rattan chairs you will find. This sort of design practically screams “hand-made.” Its natural look works well indoors or outdoors.
This chair is based on the success of an 19th century design by Michael Thonet, considered to be the prime example of bourgeois style in furniture. Tonietta is made to be light, simple light and cheap. To save the cost, front and rear legs are made using the same mold. It took fIve years to design this chair and it remains popular around the world.
Designed by Giandomenico Belotti, the spaghetti chair is one of the emblems of the 1980s.
Designed by Alessandro Mendini, this chair was based on an existing rococo armchair. The idea was to take an already established object and turn it into something unique. However, the chair became so popular, that it lost the uniqueness quality by now, despite many iterations of the original pointillist style. Marcel Proust, the French writer of long novels with intricate details and descriptions, apparently helped inspire this design.
Blow was created in the 1960s as an apparent revolt against the traditional furniture–heavy and pretentious. It was sold as kits which included a pump and materials that could repair the chair if punctured. Similarly to one of the most famous designs of the twentieth century, the Bibendum chair by Eileen Gray, Blow was partially inspired by the Michelin tire man.
This somewhat ugly beanbag chair from the late 1960s was produced by Zanotta and found a hot market of buyers who enjoyed alternative live styles, sitting positions and apparently meditation.
Fiocco lounge chair
A recent design by Gianni Pareschi that went into production in 2007.
AEO stands for “alfa e omega” (alpha and omega). In many ways it is the opposite of the Sacco chair and a totally different approach to creating comfort and support. The chair is nothing but a metal frame over which a material sleave is pulled as easily as a shirt goes on a body, and then cushion is added for extra comfort.