Tobia Scarpa: Architecture, Design, and Paper Airplanes

More than an architect for Benetton, Scarpa created Made in Italy history with his wife and colleague Afra

image
Courtesy photo

According to Tobia Scarpa, “intelligence is born from the ability to manipulate, and manipulation is surely the first individual element to the human being”.

A Venetian architect and designer born in 1935, he’s known for his work with major Italian brands like Benetton, Cassina, and Flos — along with his two Compasso d’Oro wins.

The second win in 2008, awarded for his illustrious career, was presented to the architect without his wife and colleague, Afra Bianchin Scarpa.

While the two worked raising children and phenomenal new projects, he would later tell Eva Grippa in an interview: “success corrodes sentiments and that almost always leads to dividing paths”. While that may be true, it’s nearly impossible to separate the names of Afra and Tobia Scarpa.

At the age of 74, she would pass away, drifting on, just like a paper airplane that the designer describes in a video by Flos: “sometimes we try to make paper airplanes, but by eye, not the way we learned — that we know will make it fly — but something new”.

Elegantly aging, he sits cool and calm behind his round glasses as he speaks with a strong Venetian accent. Tobia exudes the very definition of “creativity”. It’s a gift he inherited from his father, the celebrated architect and academic, Carlo Scarpa, whose stylistic tendencies and sensibilities were also passed down to his son. The Scarpa family has made a name for itself not by following specific lines of thinking, but rather, by pursuing the idea of solid and lasting design.

The collaboration between Afra and Tobia Scarpa first began in 1959 with the Pigreco armchair, during a course from Franco Albini. Just two years apart, he grew up in Venice and she came from the nearby town of Montebelluna. Both would graduate in 1957 from the IUAV of Venice, and after a brief stint in Murano for the glassmaker Venini, Scarpa would join Afra once again to inaugurate their own studio in 1960 in her hometown.

That same year, the couple would help create Flos and many of Scarpa’s designs would later take the brand’s name. Among them are the Fantasma (1962), Biagio (1968), Pierrot (1990), and Papillona (1975) (among the first examples using halogen technology).

Courtesy photo

Furnishings from Afra and Tobia Scarpa were noted immediately for their elegance and fine lines. Iconic pieces like the casual and comfortable Bastiano sofa (1961) or the Vanessa bed (1959) for Gavina and later Cassina paired well with both modern and traditional decor. Their designs would enrich the fine selection of Made in Italy throughout the world.

In 1966, the Coronado sofa was created for B&B Italia, introducing polyurethane to the world of seating. Just two years later, Scarpa released the Soriana armchair for Cassina in 1968 — one of his most iconic designs. The creative prowess of the Venetian maestro was unstoppable, and together with Afra, he more than deserved the Compasso d’Oro prize of 1970.

Courtesy photo

With a vast list of commissions, Scarpa worked for important brands like Fabbian, Stildomus, Veas, and Knoll — the 925 chair for Cassina from the 60’s is now on permanent display at the MoMa in New York. Together, the creative duo produced work that has shown at the Louvre and countless other museums throughout the world.

More than design, the architect also created the storefront for businesses like C&B, Geox, and Unifor. It was an exploration that would foray into his collaboration with Benetton, the Treviso-based clothing company. Together with Afra, he would design the knitwear factory of Paderno before taking on the entire industrial architecture production for the brand. From the interiors of the headquarters in Freiburg, Paris, and New York to the factories of Castrette di Villorba (1980 and 1993), and to the restoration of Villa Spineda in Venegazzù (1999).

More important prizes and recognition would follow, like the International Forum Design Hannover Award of 1992. However, for Scarpa, the 90’s would be scarred by the tragic passing of his two sons, Sebastiano and Niccolò, in two separate car accidents.

Despite the devastating losses, Tobia Scarpa refused to give up. He went on to teach at the IUAV University in 2002, the same school where he once studied, with professorship in the Design Department. Before the death of Afra, between 2004 and 2007, he continued to collaborate with the architect on numerous restorations of historical buildings, like the Palazzo della Ragione of Verona.

Jacqueline Poggi via Flickr

Alone, he would sign off on the Gallerie delle Prigioni in Treviso: the former Hapsburg prisons, which today host a collection of art from Benetton.

As he once said: “my goal, in life, was to be an architect. I’ve seen a lot of death in my professional life, and this experience has changed my understanding of my goals. I now understand that the awe arising from the dialogue between man and structure can take the soul to boundless spaces. Those who accept this awe have the possibility to grow spiritually”.

Translated by Austin Sawhill

Pubblicità - Continua a leggere di seguito
Altri da Best of
showroom-kiev.com.ua

best-mining.com.ua

сиалис купить в киеве дешево