Set of 5 dining chairs in the style of Cassina “Superleggera” designed by Gio Ponti in 1955. These items come directly from the ’60s.
The Superleggera (the Italian term for ‘super lightweight’) chair was inspired by the traditional and straightforward vernacular chairs produced in the Ligurian town of Chiavari. Ponti took this traditional form and, working in close collaboration with Cassina’s master craftsmen, honed it to its bare essentials. His first iteration for Cassina, the Leggera chair of 1951, was subsequently subjected to a further distillation process, producing the Superleggera in 1957.
Using light and stable ash wood, Ponti pared back the cylindrical elements of the frame to a triangular section with edges measuring 1.8cms. He also devised an ingenious system whereby the struts forming the chair frame are slotted together. The resulting structure has excellent stability while measuring a mere 1.7kg. As Ponti said, “the more minimal the shape, the more expressive it becomes.
Referencing his desire to produce a form pared back to the absolute minimum, Ponti described the Superleggera as “the chair-chair, devoid of adjectives.” To test the design, he submitted it to one final challenge, throwing it from the fourth story of an apartment into the street. The chair bounced and did not break, and Ponti considered himself satisfied.