The famous Italian architect, designer, artist, and teacher Gio Ponti was the curator and pioneer of many buildings and furniture. Above all of his achievements, Ponti was a massive enthusiast for the mid-century modern Italian lifestyle. The passion was such that it is possible to acclaim him most of the renewal of the Italian interior designing concepts post-Second World War and the existing Italian design ideas. One of these is undoubtedly the Leggera chair.
Architect of modernity
Gio Ponti’s professional career lasted well over 60 years. Gio Ponti laid out his heart and soul to the world of architecture and even more so to design. He has rightly titled the architect of modernity.
Gio Ponti designed and helped build hundreds of constructions in Italy and worldwide in his career. Nevertheless, he is still better known for his contributions to the world of design. Lighting, furniture, tiles, whatever you ask for, Ponti made his contributions in every design field possible in one way or the other.
The Inspiration for the Leggera Chair
In 1952, Gio Ponti and Cesare Cassina forged a partnership. However, before Ponti came up with the idea and design for the Leggera chair, the duo worked on another project, which sparked the idea in Ponti’s head for coming up with the Leggera. The project involved another chair known as the Superleggera.
The real inspiration, although, goes back even further. The concept of the Superleggera (super lightweight) series of chairs came from the Chiavari chair. These chairs used to be manufactured in the village of Chiavari. Their durability, stability, light structure, and affordability intrigued Ponti and urged him to develop a better version of the same. It took five whole years before the design turned into reality.
Features of Leggera Chair
The Leggera is exceptionally durable, stable, and has excellent lumbar support with circular uprights.
Leggera chair has the perfect dimensions for comfortable sitting.
Leggera Chair Concept and Ideology
The Leggera chair is all about bringing comfort without compromising the structure’s integrity. The ideology behind this masterpiece is to develop an extremely stable chair with a relatively simple, lightweight, and elegant design.
The concept that goes into achieving the idea and motive of the design is legs with round cross-sections.
A very well thought of design implemented by even well-thought ideas made the Leggera chair one of the best wooden chairs in the market for a budget.
Leggera Chair Details
The Leggera chair is not just meant for sitting purposes. It is a multiple-purpose chair.
With a ground-clearing of 46cm, the Leggera chair measures 85cm x 45cm x 47cm.
The chair features a frame made of solid ash and a natural rope seat.
The sitting area is crafted either in fabric, leather, or natural cord, depending on the customer’s needs. The best part is that the seat upholstery is removable to aid in better cleaning of the seat as well as the chair.
The seat and the frame come in a wide array of available colors to choose from. That is why the chair blends perfectly with your room’s color theme and aesthetics. The Leggera chair blends effortlessly in all kinds of environments and aesthetics with the right color combination. The class and the elegance of the chair are perfect embodiments of the Italian brand.
Challenges in Design
Cassina has some of the finest craftsmen at his disposal. Still, they faced difficulties transforming Leggera Gio Ponti’s design on paper into reality. The biggest challenge in making a chair prototype was to address its feature of a lightweight frame.
The Superleggera Concept
The Superleggera chair uses light and stable ash wood. Its seat was upholstered or weaved with cane or cellophane. Triangular cross-sections with perfect length edges replaced round cross-sections.
One thing that was a pure genius in those times was a system that involved slot-in connectors that could fit within each other with the utmost ease. This is the key and the secret of the Leggera chairs being so stable.
For durability testing, Ponti used a “drop test.” However, Ponti mercilessly threw the chair from four stories instead of hand level. Instead of shattering to splinters, the chair bounced back up as if nothing had happened.
The collective imagination of Gio Ponti and Cassina’s crafting excellence led to the first-ever Superleggera chair and subsequently laid the foundation for other chairs of the future. The combined genius somehow came up with a design that weighed just 1.7 kilos.
The Superleggera features a natural ash wood or lacquer finish either in black or white color on the frame. The seat comes in an Indian cane finish.
Its dimensions are 41cm x 45cm x 46 8/3cm.
The seat is padded and upholstered in leather or fabric and it is also surrounded by beech.
The Confusion Between Leggera Chair and Superleggera
Even though Leggera and Superleggera are two entirely different models of chairs, there tends to be some confusion about the two.
The Superleggera was a great hit in its day but is no longer in production.
The modern-day Leggera chair is a hybrid of the original Leggera and Superleggera. The Leggera chairs in production today make use of the circular cross-sections from the original Leggera owing to their better support compared to that of the Superleggera. The strength of the frame and keeping it as light as possible comes from the original Superleggera design.
Leggera Chair: Designed in 1952 but Manufactured in 2017
Cassina produced the first Leggera chairs in the development of Superleggera, the first official industrial furniture made by the Italian brand.
Even if its first design dates back to 1952, manufacturers re-discovered the Leggera almost after 65 years; in 2017, when Cassina put this chair into production again.
A composite mixture of two equally suitable and successful chairs, the modern-day Leggera is as good as they come. No other chair even comes close to matching what the Leggera stands for – being lightweight and robust.