Afra & Tobia Scarpa 'Africa' Dining Set in Walnut
Afra & Tobia Scarpa for Maxalto, dining set, cognac leather, walnut, burl, and brass, Italy, 1975.
This dining set, consisting of 6 chairs and a round table are designed by Afra & Tobia Scarpa and are titled 'Africa' being part of the Artona collection by Maxalto. The explicitly sculptural grand chairs are signed with impressed manufacturer's mark to each example. The drawing on the back highlights the natural form of the walnut wood in an unparalleled manner. These round organic lines are mainly known in black, but this features off-white lines which is rare to find.
The table is designed with a round top based on the well-known construction technique using blocks of briar framed by walnut and ebony. The base is square and this provides a solid but quaint base to the round top.
The Artona line by the Scarpa duo was in fact the first line ever produced by Maxalto, the specialist division of B&B Italia. Maxalto was originally set up in 1975 as a high-end division of B&B Italia to focus exclusively on the production of artisanal, mostly wood furniture. The Artona was their first project and also functions as a counter-message against the common prevailing use of plastics in furniture design during the Postwar period.
Dimensions of the table: Diameter 120 x height 70 cm /
Afra (1937-2011) & Tobia (1935-) Scarpa both studied on the Venice Institute of Architecture. Tobia first worked for the Italian glass manufacturer Venini. From 1960 on the couple opened their own design office. Their work includes architecture and everyday items like furniture and clothing. Tobia & Afra designed for numerous major Italian and international companies like Flos, Gavina, B&B Italia, Cassina, Knoll International and many interior projects for numerous companies worldwide.
- Gramigna, Giuliana. Repertorio del Design Italiano 1950-2000 per L'Arredamento Domestico. Allemandi: Torino, 2003, p. 232.
- Antonio Piva Afra e Tobia Scarpa: Architetti e Designers, p. 146.