Furniture icons go on a road trip across the USA

A cancelled design fair calendar and an eager salesman with a truckful of furniture: the story behind an epic North American road trip that saw new and historical Zanotta designs photographed against some of the continent’s most dramatic views

Sacco Chair by designers Piero Gatti, Cesare Paolini and Franco Teodoro
Sacco Chair by designers Piero Gatti, Cesare Paolini and Franco Teodoro The ‘Sacco’ chair for Zanotta, designed in 1968 by Piero Gatti, Cesare Paolini and Franco Teodoro, is one of a series of furniture pieces that travelled across the States with the brand’s US business director, Francesco Secchiaroli. En route, Secchiaroli photographed each piece of furniture alongside iconic views from North America
(Image credit: Francesco Secchiaroli)

When furniture fairs – and with them, the opportunity to meet clients and dealers – were cancelled in 2020 due to the global pandemic, Zanotta US business director Francesco Secchiaroli took matters into his own hands, and gave new meaning to remote working. Eschewing typical digital meetings, he masked up and found a safe way to travel North America (from New York to San Diego, then up through California and across to Toronto) and take the company’s new collections, as well as a few iconic pieces from the catalogue, to those who needed to see them.

Along the way, Secchiaroli was taken by breathtaking views, so decided to photograph the furniture alongside these striking backdrops. The result is a charming portfolio that mixes great furniture design with impressive natural landscapes and man-made marvels.

Achille Castiglioni Albero planter

The ‘Albero’ planter, designed in 1983 by Achille Castigllioni, photogaphed by Francesco Secchiaroli in Monument Valley

(Image credit: Francesco Secchiaroli)

Locations visited on this epic design journey include the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Las Vegas, and Joshua Tree National Park. Secchiaroli photographed the 1960s ‘Sacco’ chair, Achille Castiglioni’s ‘Albero’ plant holder, as well as Carlo Mollino pieces, all gaining a new narrative layer as they made themselves at home in dramatic surroundings. New products from the Zanotta collection also feature, including ‘Rider’, a tilting lounge chair by Ludovica+Roberto Palomba; the elegant ‘Nena’ chair by Lanzavecchia + Wai; Patrick Norguet's ‘Dan’ chair; Philippe Nigro’s ‘Louise’ chair; and the leather-bound ‘Tucano’ desk by Monica Förster. 

Secchiaroli photographed the collection against some of North America’s greatest natural and man-made backdrops. Setting solitary furniture pieces against the landscape, the portfolio of images, he says, ‘captures both the beauty and isolation we are all feeling while working remotely’.

Nena Chair by Lanzavecchia Wai

Lanzavecchia + Wai’s elegant ‘Nena’ chair shown on the Grand Canyon

(Image credit: TBC)

Ludovica+Roberto Palomba lounge chair design

The ‘Rider’ tilting lounge chair by Ludovica+Roberto Palomba, photographed in California’s Avenue of the Giants

(Image credit: TBC)

Desk by Monica Förster

Another shot of the Grand Canyon, featuring Monica Förster's ‘Tucano’ leather-bound desk 

(Image credit: TBC)

Philippe Nigro Louise Armchair

On Bryce Canyon, Secchiaroli photographed the ‘Louise’ armchair by Philippe Nigro

(Image credit: Francesco Secchiaroli)

Patrick Norguet Dan Chair

In Seattle, Patrick Norguet’s sleek, steel-framed ‘Dan’ chair

(Image credit: TBC)

Carlo Mollino Desk in Joshua Tree

A view of Carlo Mollino’s ‘Reale’ desk alongside the ‘Nena’ chair by Lanzavecchia + Wai, photographed in Joshua Tree

(Image credit: TBC)


Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.