Gio Ponti

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The Superleggera chair is one of the most beautiful creations in the world of furniture. Designed by the great Italian designer Gio Ponti, these chairs were a revolution in furniture.

You might be wondering what is so special about a chair? The comfort, simplicity, and elegance that the Superleggera chair provides are unlike any other. Indeed, the furniture piece was a commercial success because of these valid reasons.

What is the inspiration behind the design of the Superleggera chair?

Gio Ponti encountered several chairs on his visit to the town of Chiavari in Liguria in the 1940s. He observed the traditional look of the vernacular chairs. While in the city, the design of the Chiavari chair inspired him.

This inspiration paid the way for the creation of the Superleggera chair. Clearly, on examining the design, he felt a need for a better chair. Moreover, he felt the need for creating a chair better in contrast to the existing designs circulating then.

Gio Ponti did not abandon the traditional style. He worked to better the design and fix the imperfections. He worked along with Cassina’s master craftsmen.

Honing, examining, and reworking, he finally created the Superleggera chair.

Gio Ponti Superleggera

How did the Chiavari chair inspire Gio Ponti to make the Superleggera chair?

Using maple wood and cherry wood, the traditional artisans and manufacturers made the Chiavari chair. In addition to giving a sense of sophistication to the chair, it also gave it considerable weight.

On the one hand, everybody appreciated the touch of neoclassical style. On the other hand, however, they did not like the weight and bulk as much.

Ponti felt that the chair was a little too heavy. Thus, he thought of creating the Superleggera chair.

How did Gio Ponti make the Superleggera chair different?

Firstly, he understood the inefficiencies of the Superleggera chair. Secondly, he decided to explore and research more on those parameters, and the result was that he came up with the Superleggera chair.

Differing from the Chiavari chair, he made the Superleggera chair lighter and more efficient. Along with this, he also focused on the comfort of a person. Besides this, he also took care to ensure functionality in his design.

Without a doubt, the Superleggera chair was an instant hit.

What problems did Gio Ponti face while designing the chair?

Gio Ponto did not just design the chair in an instant. It took him quite some time to get his design on the market.

Following the first manufacture at Cassina, the design of the chair was not well- received. Hence, the chair had to undergo many design modifications.

Nevertheless, he did not lose hope. He made sure that he made the perfect chair without a doubt.

The first design was called the Leggera and was ready in 1951. They modified it several times before it took the shape of the Superleggera chair. The final version of the Superleggera chair was ready in 1957.

What were the design modifications in contrast to conventional designs?

He responded to the concerns related to functionality in particular. Not only did he make the chair extremely light, but he also minimized the design’s extravaganza.


Most importantly, he made it simplistic yet stylish. In his own words, “the more minimal the shape, the more expressive it becomes.”


Firstly, he used light and stable ash wood to make the design lightweight inspired by Ligurian designs.


Secondly, he merged the cylindrical elements of the frame with the triangular section. The triangular section had edges measuring 1.8cm each. This divided the weight and, more importantly, was great for stability.


Thirdly, he devised a system that contributed to the functionality of the chair. The creative system enabled the slotting of the struts together. These struts were the very frame of the chair.


It should be noted that the structure, even after the additions weighed only 1.7kg. Even after all the medication, the Superleggera chair was more functional and durable than the conventional chair designs.

Furthermore, to test the durability, he even threw the chair from the fourth story of an apartment. The challenge was, indeed, risky. Nonetheless, it bore results in favor of Gio Ponti. The chair bounced back and did not even break. The chair was a marvel.

Gio Ponti Leggera

Features of the Superleggera chair

The Superleggera chair was not famous because of word of mouth. The chair brought immense satisfaction to the people who bought it and are still buying it. It is one of the reasons why it is so famous. One can understand the merits of the chair by taking a close look at its features.


It should be noted that Ponti’s Superleggera chair was extremely lightweight. Furthermore, the chair weighed 1.7 kilograms or 3.5 pounds only. Indeed, chair makers all over the world have followed in his footsteps.


Not only was the weight impressive, but also the durability of the chair was impressive. The focus on light-weightiness did not comprise the strength aspect. This was possible unquestionably because of the joint slots and closed gained seat base.


Above all, it made the chair extremely comfortable to sit on. It changed the sitting experience completely.


Without a doubt, the factors mentioned above are responsible for the success of this chair. They helped in the following aspects as mentioned below:

  1. Functionality
  2. Durability
  3. Support

Because of these factors and contributing aspects, the chair is still in production despite the time of creation.

Gio Ponti Avio Velvet "646" Leggera Dining Chairs for Cassina, 1956, Set of Six

Focus on simplicity

As Ponti used to say, his creation is a form true to the very essence of simplicity. Dumbed down to the absolute minimum, the chair is not an overlooked piece of furniture. It is devoid of extravagant descriptions yet extraordinarily classy and stylish.

No sacrifice of creativity or comfort

Furthermore, the Superleggera chair today is a furniture piece that does not treat comfort, functionality, durability, and style as outdated concepts. It does well to respond to each of these needs without a doubt.

The “chair-chair, devoid of adjectives” (as described by Ponti) is an apt way to summarize the chair.

Blend of imagination and technicalities

One might believe that because the design does not compromise on creativity, it would sacrifice technical aspects. However, the Superleggera is a reflection of a perfect mix of unregulated creative imagination and manufacturing technicalities. The chair is a tribute to the traditional style and conventional manufacturing excellence.

Materials used

Manufacturers make use of Ashwood or cherry wood to make the frame. This makes it extremely light and flexible. Also, they use fabric and padding to make the seat. The fabric will vary depending on your preference. People usually prefer handwoven seats or seats made of velvet, natural rope, or the like.

The etymology of the name of the chair

Most importantly, the etymology of the word Superleggera is the most significant indication of its greatness. It means super light in Italian. Thus, it points to the lightness of the materials used to make the chair.

A classical style relevant even today

Above all, the chair is the best classical piece of furniture. It is available in the classical style, as well as slightly revamped with colored legs. Even after more than 60 years since the manufacturing and designing of the product, it is still as relevant as it was then, without a doubt.

A perfect balance

Last but not least, by removing the inert matter and weight present, the designer made the chair. The shape was subsequently modified. Doing it down to the very bottom of the structure, they established a complete equilibrium. Also, the Superleggera chair respects and fulfills the need for utility and durability as well.

Why should you choose the Superleggera chair for your home?


While people make a home, a piece of furniture is right there behind family to create memories.

Your favorite chair might have seen a meltdown in the past. In addition to this, it might have been privy to you getting a college acceptance or a job offer. Further, you might consider a chair your lucky charm in your exams.

You might have bought a chair with your first salary. Or a loved one might have gifted you the chair.


Unquestionably, we attach memories to pieces of furniture. On reminiscing, these memories are a great respite from the onslaughts of the real world.

Thus, the chair or any furniture piece you buy for that matter should be the perfect puzzle piece. It should fit in the right at your home.

The Superleggera chair is the puzzle piece you are looking for, without a doubt. This chair is not a compromise. It gives you everything you could ever want in a furniture piece.


Think of comfort, style, functionality, durability, and weight. Think of anything, and this chair will unquestionably deliver on those aspects.

This classic, vintage design is the personification of the famous adage: “Old is Gold.” Unlike the modern chair designs, the Superleggera is a marvel that will look stylish and comfortable.


It will be worth the money you pay for this chair. It will in no way be less than the modern designs of chairs.


Your house is reflective of you. Your house is an amalgamation of your furniture pieces. So, choose the furniture pieces as a reflection of you.

Most importantly, the Superleggera chair will complete your house and you as well.

Ash and Red Faux Leather Model Leggera Dining Chairs by Gio Ponti for Cassina, 1950s, Set of 6

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