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Leggera 646

Gio Ponti Leggera 646 Cassina, 1st Production 1951
By Cassina, Gio Ponti
Located in New York, NY
First production of Leggera 646 chair manufactured by Cassina. Iconic design of Gio Ponti
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Straw, Wood

Gio Ponti Mid-Century Modern Ashwood "Leggera 646" Italian Chairs, 1950s
By Gio Ponti
Located in Madrid, ES
Mid-century chairs model "Leggera 646" designed by Gio Ponti for Cassina. Made of solid ashwood
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Wood, Upholstery

Midcentury Gio Ponti Set of Four ‘Leggera 646’ Ashwood Italian Chairs, 1951
By Cassina, Gio Ponti
Located in Madrid, ES
Set of four chairs model "Leggera 646" designed by Gio Ponti. This is the first "Leggera" edition
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Cotton, Wood

Mid-Century Gio Ponti Set of Two ‘Leggera 646’ Ashwood Italian Chairs, 1951
By Gio Ponti
Located in Madrid, ES
Set of two chairs model "Leggera 646" designed by Gio Ponti. This is the first "Leggera" edition
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Cotton, Ash

Mid-Century Gio Ponti Set of Four ‘Leggera 646’ Ashwood Italian Chairs, 1951
By Gio Ponti
Located in Ibiza, Spain
Set of six chairs model "Leggera 646" designed by Gio Ponti. This is the first "Leggera" edition
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Cotton, Wood

Italian Set of Four Leggera Chairs Attribuited to Gio Ponti
By Gio Ponti
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Set of 4 chairs attributed to Gio Ponti Leggera 646 , 1st Production 1951 we have 3 more chairs
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Straw, Wood

Gio Ponti Set of 8 Ashwood Leggera Italian Chairs, 1960s
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in Madrid, ES
Set of eight chairs model "Leggera 646" designed by Gio Ponti (1891-1979) and edited by Cassina
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Ash, Upholstery

Midcentury Gio Ponti Set of Twelve Leggera by Cassina Wood Linen Italian Chairs
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in Madrid, ES
Set of twelve chairs model "Leggera 646" designed by Gio Ponti. This is the first "Leggera" edition
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Canvas, Linen, Wood

1950s Gio Ponti Leggera Chair (Model 646) for Cassina, Itally
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in PEGO, ES
Set of 4 (four) of the iconic Leggera chair by Gio Ponti, Italy 1951, manufactured by Cassina Spa
Category

Mid-20th Century Italian Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Fabric, Hardwood

Gio Ponti 646 "Leggera" Dining Chairs for Cassina, 1952, Set of 14
By Cassina, Gio Ponti
Located in Lonigo, Veneto
Gio Ponti 646 "Leggera" dining chairs for Cassina, black ash-wood and rope seat, Italy, 1952, set
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Rope, Ash

Gio Ponti 646 "Leggera" Dining Chairs for Cassina, 1952, Set of 4
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in Lonigo, Veneto
Gio Ponti 646 "Leggera" dining chairs for Cassina, black ash-wood and rope seat, Italy, 1952, set
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Rope, Ash

Gio Ponti 646 "Leggera" Dining Chairs for Cassina, 1952, Set of 10
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in Lonigo, Veneto
Gio Ponti 646 "Leggera" dining chairs for Cassina, black ash-wood and rope seat, Italy, 1952, set
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Rope, Ash

Gio Ponti 646 "Leggera" Dining Chairs for Cassina, 1952, Set of 6
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in Lonigo, Veneto
Gio Ponti 646 "Leggera" dining chairs for Cassina, black ash-wood and rope seat, Italy, 1952, set
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Rope, Ash

Gio Ponti 646 "Leggera" Dining Chairs for Cassina, 1952, Set of 12
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in Lonigo, Veneto
Gio Ponti 646 "Leggera" dining chairs for Cassina, black ash-wood and rope seat, Italy, 1952, set
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Rope, Ash

Gio Ponti for Cassina, Harlequin Set of Leggera Chairs, Model 646 in Ash, 1950s
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in Wargrave, Berkshire
Gio Ponti for Cassina, Harlequin Set of Four Leggera Chairs, Model 646, 1950s Ash frames, recently
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Upholstery, Ash

Set of 12 Gio Ponti Leggera Model 646 Dining Chairs for Cassina, Italy, 1950s
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in London, GB
A wonderful set of twelve original, early Gio Ponti Leggera Model 646 dining chairs, Cassina, Italy
Category

Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Fabric, Wood

rare Gio Ponti leggera chair, n.646 by Cassina, from Hotel Royal Naples, 1955
By Gio Ponti
Located in Rome, IT
very rare Gio Ponti iconic chair, n. 646 by Cassina ash and re-upholstery in ivory cotton this
Category

Vintage 1950s European Modern Chairs

Materials

Velvet, Ash

1957 Gio Ponti Superleggera Side Chair model 646 Italy
By Gio Ponti
Located in Chula Vista, CA
1957 Gio Ponti Vintage Leggera Side Chair model 646 Italy superleggera ash wood and cane 32.5 h x
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs

Materials

Wood

Pair of Gio Ponti Leggera Chairs, 1954
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in Brussels, BE
Leggera Chair model "646" by Gio Ponti. Edited by Cassina in 1951. The present set is from the
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Fabric, Ash

Pair of Gio Ponti Leggera Chairs, 1954
Pair of Gio Ponti Leggera Chairs, 1954
H 32.68 in W 15.75 in D 16.54 in
Pair of Gio Ponti Leggera Chairs, 1950s
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in Brussels, BE
Pair of Leggera black chairs model "646" by Gio Ponti. Edited by Cassina in 1951. The present set
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Fabric, Ash

Pair of Gio Ponti Leggera Chairs, 1950s
Pair of Gio Ponti Leggera Chairs, 1950s
H 32.68 in W 15.75 in D 16.54 in
Set of Six "Leggera" Chairs by Gio Ponti
By Gio Ponti
Located in Piacenza, Italy
Extraordinary set of six original "Leggera" chairs designed by Gio Ponti. Iconic chair in early
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Wood

Set of Six "Leggera" Chairs by Gio Ponti
Set of Six "Leggera" Chairs by Gio Ponti
H 32.68 in W 18.9 in D 16.93 in
Leggera Mid Century Dining Chair by Gio Ponti for Cassina
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in Milano, IT
, tableware, architecture and interior decoration. Amongst his most famous works, stands the 646 Chair
Category

Vintage 1970s Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Leather, Wood

Leggera Dining Chairs by Gio Ponti for Cassina - Set of Four
By Cassina, Gio Ponti
Located in Milano, IT
decoration. Amongst his most famous works, stands the 646 Chair designed for Cassina, and aptly name
Category

Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Faux Leather, Wood

Gio Ponti for Cassina set of four Leggera dining chairs, Italy 1950s
By Gio Ponti, Figli di Amadeo Cassina
Located in Milan, IT
Set of four 1st edition Ash and upholstery Gio Ponti Model 646/3 LEGGERA dining chairs for Cassina
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Upholstery, Ash

Pair of Leggera Black Ebonized Wooden Dining Chairs by Gio Ponti, Italy, 1950s
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in bergen op zoom, NL
Pair of Gio Ponti Model 646 "Leggera" chair for Cassina in 1957. Black ebonized wooden frames
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Papercord, Plastic, Wood

Red Faux Leather Leggera Dining Chairs by Gio Ponti for Cassina, 1960s, Set of 6
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in Vicenza, IT
Set of Six 646" Leggera" dining chairs designed by Gio Ponti and produced by Cassina in 1956
Category

Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Ash

Set of 4 Orange Leather "Leggera" Chairs by Gio Ponti for Cassina, Italy, 1950s
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in Milan, IT
Four chairs model 646 by Gio Ponti for Cassina. Rare version with upholstered backrest. Set
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Chairs

Materials

Wood

14 Mid Century Italian Dining Chairs, By Gio Ponti - Wood And Blue Leather -
By Cassina, Gio Ponti
Located in Milano, IT
and interior decoration. Amongst his most famous works, stands the 646 Chair designed for Cassina
Category

Vintage 1970s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Leather, Wood, Walnut

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Model 656 Leggera Chair by Gio Ponti
By Gio Ponti
Located in Milan, Italy
Model 646 Leggera chair, 1950s for Cassina, designed by the Italian architect Gio Ponti
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Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs

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Faux Leather, Wood

Model 656 Leggera Chair by Gio Ponti
Model 656 Leggera Chair by Gio Ponti
H 32.68 in W 17.72 in D 18.11 in
Set of Eight Italian Midcentury Leggera Dining Chairs by Gio Ponti for Cassina
By Cassina, Gio Ponti
Located in Milan, IT
decoration. Amongst his most famous works, stands the 646 Chair designed for Cassina, and aptly name
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Vintage 1970s Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

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Set of nine Vintage Italian Leggera Blue Dining Chairs by Gio Ponti for Cassina
By Cassina, Gio Ponti
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14 Gio Ponti Dining Chairs, Wood And Blue Leather, Italian Collectible Furniture
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Set of 5 Leggera 646 Chairs Gio Ponti for Cassina, Italy, 1950s
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in Naples, IT
Set of 5 chairs Mod. Leggera. Light ash and straw. Leggera 646 produced by Cassina. Iconic design
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Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

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Set of Six "Leggera 646" Designed by Gio Ponti Chairs, Italy, 70s
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Set of six “Leggera 646” chairs designed by Gio Ponti for Cassina. Made of solid ash wood lacquered
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Italian Mid-Century Black Wood Rope Chairs Leggera 646 Gio Ponti Cassina, 1970s
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Italian mid-century black wood and rope chairs mod. Leggera 646 by Gio Ponti for Cassina, 1970s Set
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Gio Ponti for Cassina Set of 6 Leggera Chairs , Italy 1950s
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Located in Naples, IT
Set of 6 chairs Mod. Leggera. Light ash and straw. Leggera 646 produced by Cassina. Iconic design
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Gio Ponti for Cassina, Leggera Chair, Model 646, 1950s
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Located in Wargrave, Berkshire
Gio Ponti for Cassina, Leggera Chair, Model 646, 1950s Ash frame, recently re-upholstered in
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Gio Ponti 646 “Leggera” Dining Chairs for Cassina, 1955, Set of 4
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in Lonigo, Veneto
Gio Ponti 646 “Leggera” dining chairs for Cassina, 1955, set of 4. Set of four 646 "Leggera
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Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

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Gio Ponti 646 "Leggera" Dining Chairs for Cassina, 1956, Set of 6
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in Lonigo, Veneto
Gio Ponti 646 "Leggera" dining chairs for Cassina, Cord seat, 1956, set of 6 Meaning "lightweight
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Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

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Set of 2 Gio‘ Ponti Leggera Model 646 Chairs Wood 1950 for Cassina, Italy
By Gio Ponti
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Set n 2 Gio ‘ Ponti upholstered chairs “Leggera” model 646 wood, 1950, Italy.
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Vintage 1950s Italian Other Chairs

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Two '646 Leggera' Chairs by Gio Ponti for Cassina Ash Foam Fabric, Italy, 1950s
By Cassina, Gio Ponti
Located in Milano, IT
Two '646 Leggera' chairs designed by Gio Ponti. Ash wood, foam padding, fabric upholstery
Category

Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

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Gio Ponti Cassina Mod. 646 Leggera Chair Ash Wood White Padded Fabric Italy 1952
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in Catania, IT
Mod. 646 "Leggera" chair designed by Gio Ponti and manufactured by Cassina in Italy, 1952. Set of
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

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Gio Ponti Leggera Chairs Cassina, Italy, 1952
By Cassina, Gio Ponti
Located in Roosendaal, Noord Brabant
Unusually large set of model 646 'Leggera' chairs designed by Gio Ponti and manufactured by Cassina
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

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Gio Ponti Leggera Chairs Cassina, Italy, 1952
Gio Ponti Leggera Chairs Cassina, Italy, 1952
H 33.08 in W 16.93 in D 18.9 in
4 "Leggera" chairs designed by Gio Ponti for Cassina
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Located in Dronten, NL
4 chairs model no. 646, better known as "Leggera" chairs. Produced circa 1955, original wool
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Set of Six Elegant Gio Ponti Leggere Chairs "646" by Cassina, 1952
By Gio Ponti
Located in Rome, IT
Set of six GIO PONTI "leggere chairs" produced by CASSINA "646" Italy 1952 black laquered ash and
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Gio Ponti for Cassina set of six Leggera dining chairs, Italy 1950s
By Gio Ponti, Figli di Amadeo Cassina
Located in Milan, IT
Set of six 1st edition Ash and upholstery Gio Ponti Model 646/2 LEGGERA dining chairs for Cassina
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Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

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Six Leggera Chairs by Gio Ponti for Cassina Ash, Foam, Leatherette, Italy 1950s
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in Milano, IT
A group of 6 '646 Leggera' chairs designed by Gio Ponti for Cassina. Ashwood, foam padding
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Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

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Gio Ponti 699 "Superleggera" Dining Chairs for Cassina, 1957, Set of 8
By Cassina, Gio Ponti
Located in Lonigo, Veneto
", meaning super-lightweight. The "Superleggera" is the evolution of the earlier 646 "Leggera", originally
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Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

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Set of 4 Gio Ponti Leggera Chairs by Cassina, Italy, 1952
By Cassina, Gio Ponti
Located in amstelveen, NL
Leggera 646 chair, Gio Ponti, Italy Set of four chairs model “Leggera 646” designed by Gio Ponti
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Gio Ponti 646 "Leggera" Dining Chairs for Cassina, 1952, Set of 8
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in Lonigo, Veneto
Gio Ponti 646 "Leggera" dining chairs for Cassina, black ash-wood and rope seat, Italy, 1952, set
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Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

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Set of 6 Gio Ponti Leggera Model 646 Chairs Wood 1950 for Cassina, Italy
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Located in Milano, IT
Set of 6 Gio Ponti upholstered chairs “Leggera” model 646 wood, 1950, Italy.
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Set of Four Yellow Velvet Leggera Chairs 646/3 by Gio Ponti, Italy, 1954

By Gio Ponti
Located in Den Haag, NL
Set of four leggera chairs by Gio Ponti Italy, 1954? Set of four vintage leggera chairs by Gio
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Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

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Gio Ponti for Cassina Green Leather 'Leggera' Chairs
By Gio Ponti
Located in Waalwijk, NL
Gio Ponti for Cassina, 'Leggera' chairs Model 646, ash and leather, Italy, 1952. This chair is
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Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

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Gio Ponti for Cassina 1st Production 'Leggera' Dining Chairs in Original Straw
By Gio Ponti
Located in Waalwijk, NL
Gio Ponti for Cassina, 'Leggera' chairs Model '646', straw, ash, Italy, 1950s This chair is the
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Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

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Straw, Ash

Set of Six Chairs by Gio Ponti
By Gio Ponti
Located in Copenhagen, DK
'646 Leggera', dining chairs in ash and patinated wicker. Set of six. Design 1951. Maker Cassina.
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Set of Six Chairs by Gio Ponti
Set of Six Chairs by Gio Ponti
H 32.68 in W 15.75 in D 15.75 in
Studio Tecnico Cassina Modernist Wingback Armchair with Metal Feet, Italy, 1950s
By Cassina, Figli di Amadeo Cassina
Located in Chiavari, Liguria
resulted in many notable furniture designs, including the 646 Leggera Chair, the 699 Superleggera Chair
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Gio Ponti for Cassina, Italy, 1952, Set of Four "Leggera" Chairs
By Gio Ponti
Located in Wargrave, Berkshire
Gio Ponti for Cassina, Italy, 1952. A set of 4 model 646" Leggera " chairs in Ash wood frames and a
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Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

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Three “Leggera 646” Chairs by Gio Ponti for Cassina, 1951
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in Fossano, IT
Famous model 646 leggera chair designed by Gio Ponti for Cassina in 1951, the leggera chair is now
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Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

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Fabric, Wood

Set of Eight Model 646 Leggera Chairs by Gio Ponti for Cassina, 1950s
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Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

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Set of Six Leggera Chairs by Gio Ponti for Cassina, 1952
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60s Mid Century Modern Gio Ponti Leggera Cassina Style Rosewood Dining Chairs
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rosewood and buttery espresso leather. IMO Gio Ponti’s Leggera Model 646. Italy, 1960s.
Category

Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Leather, Rosewood

Two Leggera Chairs by Gio Ponti for Cassina
By Gio Ponti
Located in Cologne, DE
A pair of Leggera chairs (or model no. 646 by Cassina), design in 1951 by Gio Ponti The
Category

Vintage 1960s Italian Modern Chairs

Two Leggera Chairs by Gio Ponti for Cassina
Two Leggera Chairs by Gio Ponti for Cassina
H 31.89 in W 16.54 in D 16.93 in
Gio Ponti 12 Leggera Chairs with Gold Satin Seat Edited by Cassina, Milano 1950s
By Gio Ponti, Cassina
Located in Milano, IT
Meaning "lightweight", the Leggera chair mod. 646 is an iconic Italian design by Gio Ponti, one of the
Category

Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Satin, Wood

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Leggera 646 For Sale on 1stDibs

With a vast inventory of beautiful furniture at 1stDibs, we’ve got just the leggera 646 you’re looking for. A leggera 646 — often made from wood, ash and hardwood — can elevate any home. You’ve searched high and low for the perfect leggera 646 — we have versions that date back to the 20th Century alongside those produced as recently as the 20th Century are available. A leggera 646 is a generally popular piece of furniture, but those created in Mid-Century Modern styles are sought with frequency.

How Much is a Leggera 646?

A leggera 646 can differ in price owing to various characteristics — the average selling price 1stDibs is $6,620, while the lowest priced sells for $965 and the highest can go for as much as $21,960.

Gio Ponti for sale on 1stDibs

An architect, furniture and industrial designer and editor, Gio Ponti was arguably the most influential figure in 20th-century Italian modernism.

Ponti designed thousands of furnishings and products — from cabinets, mirrors and chairs to ceramics and coffeemakers — and his buildings, including the brawny Pirelli Tower (1956) in his native Milan, and the castle-like Denver Art Museum (1971), were erected in 14 countries. Through Domus, the magazine he founded in 1928, Ponti brought attention to virtually every significant movement and creator in the spheres of modern art and design.

The questing intelligence Ponti brought to Domus is reflected in his work: as protean as he was prolific, Ponti’s style can’t be pegged to a specific genre.

In the 1920s, as artistic director for the Tuscan porcelain maker Richard Ginori, he fused old and new; his ceramic forms were modern, but decorated with motifs from Roman antiquity. In pre-war Italy, modernist design was encouraged, and after the conflict, Ponti — along with designers such as Carlo Mollino, Franco Albini, Marco Zanuso — found a receptive audience for their novel, idiosyncratic work. Ponti’s typical furniture forms from the period, such as the wedge-shaped Distex chair, are simple, gently angular, and colorful; equally elegant and functional. In the 1960s and ’70s, Ponti’s style evolved again as he explored biomorphic shapes, and embraced the expressive, experimental designs of Ettore Sottsass Jr., Joe Colombo and others.

Ponti's signature furniture piece — the one by which he is represented in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Germany’s Vitra Design Museum and elsewhere — is the sleek Superleggera chair, produced by Cassina starting in 1957. (The name translates as “superlightweight” — advertisements featured a model lifting it with one finger.)

Ponti had a playful side, best shown in a collaboration he began in the late 1940s with the graphic artist Piero Fornasetti. Ponti furnishings were decorated with bright finishes and Fornasetti's whimsical lithographic transfer prints of things such as butterflies, birds or flowers; the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts possesses a 1950 secretary from their Architetturra series, which feature case pieces covered in images of building interiors and facades. The grandest project Ponti and Fornasetti undertook, however, lies on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean: the interiors of the luxury liner Andrea Doria, which sank in 1956.

Widely praised retrospectives at the Queens Museum of Art in 2001 and at the Design Museum London in 2002 sparked a renewed interest in Ponti among modern design aficionados. (Marco Romanelli’s monograph, which was written for the London show, offers a fine overview of Ponti’s work.) Today, a wide array of Ponti’s designs are snapped up by savvy collectors who want to give their homes a touch of Italian panache and effortless chic.

Find a range of vintage Gio Ponti desks, dining chairs, coffee tables and other furniture on 1stDibs.

A Close Look at Mid-Century Modern Furniture

Organically shaped, clean-lined and elegantly simple are three terms that well describe vintage mid-century modern furniture. The style, which emerged primarily in the years following World War II, is characterized by pieces that were conceived and made in an energetic, optimistic spirit by creators who believed that good design was an essential part of good living.

ORIGINS OF MID-CENTURY MODERN FURNITURE DESIGN

CHARACTERISTICS OF MID-CENTURY MODERN FURNITURE DESIGN

MID-CENTURY MODERN FURNITURE DESIGNERS TO KNOW

ICONIC MID-CENTURY MODERN FURNITURE DESIGNS

VINTAGE MID-CENTURY MODERN FURNITURE ON 1STDIBS

The mid-century modern era saw leagues of postwar American architects and designers animated by new ideas and new technology. The lean, functionalist International-style architecture of Le Corbusier and Bauhaus eminences Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius had been promoted in the United States during the 1930s by Philip Johnson and others. New building techniques, such as “post-and-beam” construction, allowed the International-style schemes to be realized on a small scale in open-plan houses with long walls of glass.

Materials developed for wartime use became available for domestic goods and were incorporated into mid-century modern furniture designs. Charles and Ray Eames and Eero Saarinen, who had experimented extensively with molded plywood, eagerly embraced fiberglass for pieces such as the La Chaise and the Womb chair, respectively. 

Architect, writer and designer George Nelson created with his team shades for the Bubble lamp using a new translucent polymer skin and, as design director at Herman Miller, recruited the Eameses, Alexander Girard and others for projects at the legendary Michigan furniture manufacturer

Harry Bertoia and Isamu Noguchi devised chairs and tables built of wire mesh and wire struts. Materials were repurposed too: The Danish-born designer Jens Risom created a line of chairs using surplus parachute straps for webbed seats and backrests.

The Risom lounge chair was among the first pieces of furniture commissioned and produced by legendary manufacturer Knoll, a chief influencer in the rise of modern design in the United States, thanks to the work of Florence Knoll, the pioneering architect and designer who made the firm a leader in its field. The seating that Knoll created for office spaces — as well as pieces designed by Florence initially for commercial clients — soon became desirable for the home.

As the demand for casual, uncluttered furnishings grew, more mid-century furniture designers caught the spirit.

Classically oriented creators such as Edward Wormley, house designer for Dunbar Inc., offered such pieces as the sinuous Listen to Me chaise; the British expatriate T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings switched gears, creating items such as the tiered, biomorphic Mesa table. There were Young Turks such as Paul McCobb, who designed holistic groups of sleek, blond wood furniture, and Milo Baughman, who espoused a West Coast aesthetic in minimalist teak dining tables and lushly upholstered chairs and sofas with angular steel frames.

As the collection of vintage mid-century modern chairs, dressers, coffee tables and other furniture for the living room, dining room, bedroom and elsewhere on 1stDibs demonstrates, this period saw one of the most delightful and dramatic flowerings of creativity in design history.

Finding the Right Seating for You

With entire areas of our homes reserved for “sitting rooms,” the value of quality antique and vintage seating cannot be overstated.

Fortunately, the design of side chairs, armchairs and other lounge furniture — since what were, quite literally, the early perches of our ancestors — has evolved considerably.

Among the earliest standard seating furniture were stools. Egyptian stools, for example, designed for one person with no seat back, were x-shaped and typically folded to be tucked away. These rudimentary chairs informed the design of Greek and Roman stools, all of which were a long way from Sori Yanagi's Butterfly stool or Alvar Aalto's Stool 60. In the 18th century and earlier, seats with backs and armrests were largely reserved for high nobility.

The seating of today is more inclusive but the style and placement of chairs can still make a statement. Antique desk chairs and armchairs designed in the style of Louis XV, which eventually included painted furniture and were often made of rare woods, feature prominently curved legs as well as Chinese themes and varied ornaments. Much like the thrones of fairy tales and the regency, elegant lounges crafted in the Louis XV style convey wealth and prestige. In the kitchen, the dining chair placed at the head of the table is typically reserved for the head of the household or a revered guest.

Of course, with luxurious vintage or antique furnishings, every chair can seem like the best seat in the house. Whether your preference is stretching out on a plush sofa, such as the Serpentine, designed by Vladimir Kagan, or cozying up in a vintage wingback chair, there is likely to be a comfy classic or contemporary gem for you on 1stDibs.

With respect to the latest obsessions in design, cane seating has been cropping up everywhere, from sleek armchairs to lounge chairs, while bouclé fabric, a staple of modern furniture design, can be seen in mid-century modern, Scandinavian modern and Hollywood Regency furniture styles.

Admirers of the sophisticated craftsmanship and dark woods frequently associated with mid-century modern seating can find timeless furnishings in our expansive collection of lounge chairs, dining chairs and other items — whether they’re vintage editions or alluring official reproductions of iconic designs from the likes of Hans Wegner or from Charles and Ray Eames. Shop our inventory of Egg chairs, designed in 1958 by Arne Jacobsen, the Florence Knoll lounge chair and more.

No matter your style, the collection of unique chairs, sofas and other seating on 1stDibs is surely worthy of a standing ovation.