‘In the field of chairs, I don’t see what else is left to be invented’

‘In the field of chairs, I don’t see what else is left to be invented’

Tobia Scarpa talks about the Pigreco chair, his first furniture design from 1959 and now reissued by Tacchini 

Italian architect Tobia Scarpa designed the Pigreco chair in 1959: it was his first furniture design, and he created upon finishing his architecture studies at the University of Venice. The chair is now reissued for the first time by Italian furniture manufacturer Tacchini, a family company whose catalogues include reissued furniture icons of Italian design by the likes of Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, Gianfranco Frattini and Umberto Riva. 

Pigreco by Tobia Scarpa marks the debut of the designer’s works within the Tacchini collections. The new chair remains faithful to the original design, with new materials and finishes to fit within contemporary domestic spaces. The wooden structure is available in Canaletto walnut and ash wood. 

Front and back view of the Pigreco chair by Tobia Scarpa, featuring two "sister legs" joined at the back for extra stability

‘I wanted to create a sense of space,’ says Scarpa of his original design for the Pigreco chair. He chose a triangle as the base of the chair for its ‘dynamic’ nature, and the shape can be found as the supporting structure under the seat. However, he notes, the triangle had an ‘integral defect’ and to ensure the chair’s stability, he played with the concept of a four-legged chair, experimenting with geometry to achieve a piece that consists in intersecting triangular and semi-circular shapes. The defining element of the design are the back ‘sister legs’, as he called them, separated by a narrow gap and united through an ingenious wooden joint that offers structural strength to the chair. The low backrest is shaped in Scarpa’s words, like a big horn and the semi-circular seat is a flat cushion, upholstered in leather or textile. 

Italian architect Tobia Scarpa holding his Pigreco chair in walnut and striped textile upholstery

The chair’s concept, Scarpa explains, is as complicated as it is simple for the human mind to conceive: an essential combination of geometries and intersecting lines in perfect balance. Its silhouette demonstrates Scarpa’s approach to the piece of furniture as a miniature architecture, the influence of his studies visible throughout the design. ‘Now I look at it and think, in the field of chairs, what else is left to be invented,’ he said when looking back at his design. ‘This one is more than enough.’

Watch: Tobia Scarpa talks about his design for the Pigreco chair


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