The Pigreco chair represents the style and concepts of the design couple Afra and Tobia Scarpa. It’s rational and functional, made to fit every space in every situation. It’s also warm and even traditional since wood is the protagonist. The two Italian designers produced this piece of furniture for Gavina, a company that looked at the modern design. The modern design meant being avant-garde and making your own rules.
In the 50s and 60s, people were looking to the future. So was the industry, which was finally developing after the forced stop due to World War II. People were creating and inventing. These were the decades of plastic and innovation. The years of new technology, even in design. And designers like Afra and Tobia Scarpa took full advantage of this modern, forward movement.
The Specs of the Pigreco Chair
This chair was designed in 1959 and then sent to production in 1960 by the company Gavina. It’s simple in its project and conception. In fact, the Pigreco features a simple structure of wood and a padded covering for the seat. A system of two lateral crosspieces sustains the padded cover, and the seat almost looks like floating since it doesn’t touch any other parts of the wooden structure.
The rear foot is paired, and the back of the plywood is curved, forming an elegant line in the Pigreco chair. At a first look, it seems like it only has three legs. In reality, there are four legs, but two of them are so close the chair almost takes a triangular shape. It’s light, floating even. This chair doesn’t need anything else. Not even an extra addition. It’s a product of rationalism because it’s functional and practical. But it’s also a product of irrationality since clashing forms and lines meet in this chair, which manages to be both curved and triangular.
It was a true novelty in design since these curved shapes weren’t traditional or widespread. However, these characteristics are exactly what makes this chair by Afra and Tobia Scarpa unique. It’s innovative yet decorative. Scarpa said it better, “when it comes to chairs, I don’t know what else one could invent, but I think this is good enough.” Even years later, the Pigreco chair is as elegant and relevant as it was in 1959.
The Story Behind It
The Pigreco chair for Gavina is the first furniture product Afra and Tobia Scarpa designed. Specifically, after Tobia’s graduation at the IUAV university in Venice, where he studied architecture. And as soon as he left university, he went on to design furniture and design. A true calling, at least for Tobia Scarpa, who went on to become one of the most relevant Italian designers of his time.
With this chair, the two designers wanted to transmit an idea of space, a sense of space that is fluid and dynamic. Hence, the floating seat and the two “sister legs” of the Pigreco chair. It defied the rules of traditional chairs and design, which focused on usefulness instead of feelings. On the other hand, Afra and Tobia Scarpa wanted to let people think and feel, defying their space and design ideas.
After decades, this is still an icon of design. So much so that the Italian company Tacchini has made a reissue. This contemporary version features walnut wood or ash tree in the dark grey shade. The padded seat is still floating, and people can choose a covering of either leather or fabric. True to the original design of 1959, Tacchini’s chair is still elegant and light as a feather.