Carlo Scarpa’s ‘Cornaro’ armchair unites Venetian and Japanese design

The ‘Cornaro’ armchair, by Carlo Scarpa for Cassina, is among our Salone del Mobile 2024 highlights, featured in May Wallpaper*, on sale 11 April

Carlo Scarpa Cassina chair
(Image credit: Courtesy of Cassina)

In the late 1960s and 1970s, the influential Italian architect and designer Carlo Scarpa produced a series of furniture designs for the Simon Gavina company. A handful of these creations – including the metal-framed ‘Doge’ dining table and wooden ‘Rialto’ bookcases – have been reissued in the last few years by Cassina, as part of its star-studded iMaestri collection, which comprises pieces such as Le Corbusier’s ‘Cabanon’ stool and Charlotte Perriand’s ‘Nuage’ bookshelf.

This year they are joined by Scarpa’s ‘Cornaro’, presented during Salone del Mobile 2024, an armchair originally designed in 1973. It stands out for its evocative design, highlighted by the unique material and structural contrast between the geometric rigour of the base and the softness of the upholstered seat. Preserving the aesthetic of the original model, the reissue comes with updated proportions, including a more ample seat.

Cassina Cornaro armchair

(Image credit: Luca Merli)

Scarpa was influenced by the materials, landscape, and history of his native Venice, as well as that of Japan, and the ‘Cornaro’ armchair combines both interests: named after a historic Venetian family, it also nods to the Japanese minimalism Scarpa admired, with its sculptural wooden frame.

It is available in beech with a glossy lacquer finish, or in ash with a matte lacquer finish, in a carefully curated selection of colours developed for each of the two types of wood. Padded with recycled PET fibres, the comfortable cushion elements are attached to the frame using exposed thin black saddle leather laces inside a specially designed grommet.

With a view to circularity, ‘Cornaro’ has no glued parts and is completely disassemblable to facilitate the recycling and recovery of its components at the end of its life cycle.

Cassina, Via Durini 16, Milan

A version of this article will appear in the May 2024 issue of Wallpaper*, as part of our Salone del Mobile 2024 preview, on sale 11 April, available in print, on the Wallpaper* app on Apple iOS, and to subscribers of Apple News +. Subscribe to Wallpaper* today

Léa Teuscher is a Sub-Editor at Wallpaper*. A former travel writer and production editor, she joined the magazine over a decade ago, and has been sprucing up copy and attempting to write clever headlines ever since. Having spent her childhood hopping between continents and cultures, she’s a fan of all things travel, art and architecture. She has written three Wallpaper* City Guides on Geneva, Strasbourg and Basel.

With contributions from