Afra and Tobia Scarpa Archivio Storico Flos

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Afra and Tobia Scarpa are award-winning postmodern Italian architects and designers. Their pieces are in museums across the United States and Europe, including MOMA and the “Louvre Museum” collections. They won many awards, such as the “Compasso d’Oro” in 1969 to the “International forum design” in 1992.

Their collaborations

Afra and Tobia Scarpa have collaborated with many companies, such as “B&B ITALIA” and “Knoll International.” They worked for Gavina; we remember the famous sofa named “Bastiano,” created in 1961. So, their most notable works are for B&B Italia, such as the “Coronado” sofa (1966). Talking about their work with Cassina, it’s impossible to forget the armchair “Soriana” (1968). In 1964, they collaborated with Benetton company, and Afra and Tobia have been responsible for the interiors of the company’s Paris, Freiburg, and New York offices. A few years later, in 1973, they designed their “Papillion” lamp for Flos, one of the first lighting that uses halogen technology.  In the later part of their careers, their pieces have incorporated new technologies. 

Moreover, their furniture has been published in magazine articles like L’OEIL. In 2007, they collaborated with their restoration projects for historical buildings such as the “Palazzo della Ragione” in Verona, Italy. 

About Afra and Tobia Scarpa’s life

The couple was influenced by Tobia’s father, “Carlo Scarpa,” a Venetian architect too. Afra Bianchin was born in Montebelluna, Italy in 1937 and Tobia Scarpa was born in Venice in 1935. Both earned degrees in architecture from the University IUAV in Venice in 1957. From 1957 to 1961, Tobia worked as a glass designer at the Murano glassworks of Venini, and later in 1960 opened his design office in Montebelluna with Afra.

Since 2002, Tobia has taught in the Design Department of the University Iuav in Venice, Italy. Tobia Scarpa has always believed in design but without a book of rules. His creations are particularly atypical and evocative, thanks to his philosophies and his fantastic view of design. It’s difficult to say if today another architect could be the same; his style and passion were unmistakable. Mainly he dedicated his life entirely to his art and work. He can do it also thanks to his wife that had a big heart and followed him for a long time, and thanks to his father and his passion too.

About Afra and Tobia Scarpa collaboration with Cassina

During their collaboration with “Cassina,” Afra and Tobia Scarpa created many exciting pieces such as “778” extensible table and “121” chairs and “777” side table and “924” bed. 

The 778 extensible table

The first one, the 778 extensible table, is another example like the 771 and 777 tables of the use of the solid wood boards arranged to form a C-shaped frame. Four trestles support the table, with a top that opens. Two of them are few centimeters lower than the others. So, the top can rest on them when you close the table. Thanks to this structural solution, the L-shaped configuration of the boards supplies the necessary reinforcement of the foot. The table extension happens by raising one-half of the hinged top and sliding the lower half horizontally. This movement is possible thanks to two metal tracks that guide small nylon wheels attached to the top.

The 121 chairs

Created as a chair for use with the 778 table and 777 small tables. Once again, we see the double trestles structure with the characteristic rounded joint. The seat and back are shaped in plywood and attached by bolts to crosspieces along with the seat. The back has a cut in the lower part, required due to a reinforcement that reacts to torsion stress, which is strongest at this point. The clear structure is like a cynical volume. The supports, on the other hand, are slender anatomically shaped surfaces.

Model 121 Dining Chairs by Afra _ Tobia Scarpa for Cassina, 1965, Set of 10

The Soriana sofa, lounge chair, chaise-longue, and ottoman

The Soriana project is composed of a sofa, a lounge chair, a chaise-longue, and an ottoman. The structure features a chromed metal frame that surrounds a polyurethane foam padding. It was available with leather, texture, and velvet covering. It recalls the space Age style. 

Production period: 1960-1979. Winner of the “Compasso d’Oro” prize in 1970, it is one of their most famous projects.

Afra & Tobia Scarpa Striped Velvet Soriana Living Room Set for Cassina, 1970

Afra and Tobia Scarpa’s Collaboration with Molteni

Monk Chair

The Monk dining chair (1973) is the most iconic piece designed by Afra and Tobia Scarpa for the Italian manufacturer Molteni. These timeless and elegant chairs are made of a walnut wood frame with fabric or leather seats and backrests. 

Afra & Tobia Scarpa Midcentury "Monk" Dining Chair for Molteni, 1973, Set of 4


Everything goes around to find a quality of materials. Natural materials. The seats can be available in leather (black, cognac, brown, or white), and the legs are solid wood. The particular feature of this model is the support structure, composed of two equal trestles in solid wood attached to shaped metal tubing, creating a single element for the seat and the back. The two structural parts join by two pairs of bolts for each trestle, with the decorative touch of large hubs in steel, facilitating the connection to the solid wood.

The seat surface is made with two leather parts or solid fabric, shaped for comfortable sitting. Besides the two coverage options, a solution was also offered in which the trestles were made with composite elements, alternating two external layers in light wood with a dark inner part, a chromatic motif that was to be further developed in the “Artona” series.

In addition, we can tell you that …

Chic, distinctive, and cool, the husband and wife team’s work has found a new generation of sophisticated admirers in the 21st century.

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