Tobia Scarpa: The Master of Design
It’s a mark of the designer that he is that Tobia Scarpa has worked for nearly every major international design company including Gavina, B&B Italia, Cassina, Meritalia, Casas, Fabbian, and Knoll creating many masterpieces for them over the years.
Scarpa, along with Pier Castiglioni, was commissioned to design the first models for the Italian design company FLOS.
In his long association with FLOS, he produced many bestsellers for them such as the stunning wall mounted fixture Ariette, the eye-catching Fantasma floor lamp, and the ultra-contemporary Foglio wall lamp. One of his famous light fixtures – the Biagio table lamp – was designed by him way back in 1968 and remains in production to this day.
The designs created by Scarpa have a timeless quality to them. Son of the famous and much admired Italian architect and designer Carlo Scarpa, Tobia, was born in Venice in 1937.
He went to school at the Università Iuav di Venezia from where he earned a degree in architecture and met his wife Afra. Thus began the years of collaboration between the two as they went on to form their own design office in Montebelluna and became a design force to reckon with.
Their design work ranged from full scale architectural works such as factories, shops, and offices they designed for Benetton that created a benchmark for industrial architecture to everyday household items including furniture, clothing, and art glass.
While they used modern materials and methodologies to create their products, their designs were more classical than the ones being produced by their contemporaries during that time and were a big draw for people who wanted furniture that stood in perfect harmony with modern and traditional interiors alike.
The husband-wife duo also worked in the field of building restoration, taking up restoration projects for many historical buildings such as the Palazzo della Ragione in Verona, Italy.
The two were greatly influenced by the works of Scarpa’s father and tried to infuse different technologies and materials into their products. Their aim was to create products that were comfortable-yet-high-on-aesthetics.
Tobia Scarpa won many prestigious awards for the work he did with his wife including the Compasso d’Oro award in 1970 for the “Soriana” armchair they designed for Cassina. They also won the Nerocon Merit Award in 1982, the Primer Premio Nacional de Diseño Otorgado in 1978, and the International Forum Design Hanover award in 1992. In addition to the joint awards with his wife, Tobia Scarpa also won the career Compasso d’Oro award in 2008.
Some of the products that Scarpa and his wife designed were exhibited in many renowned museums across the world including the Musée du Louvre in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
In 2002, Tobia Scarpa went to teach at the design department of his alma mater, Università Iuav di Venezia in Venice, thus coming a full circle to where he began his illustrious journey from.