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Afra & Tobia Scarpa

Italian

Widely recognized as superstars of postmodern Italian design, husband-and-wife team Afra and Tobia Scarpa (1937–2011; b. 1935) collaboratively created chairs, sofas and other furniture that work equally well in both traditional and cutting-edge environments.

Ranging from architecture and interior design to furniture and clothing, the Scarpas’ practice from its beginnings in the mid-1950s to the 21st century has included a diverse scope of projects combining new technology with thoughtful function and sculptural yet simple forms.

Afra Bianchin and Tobia Scarpa met as architecture students at the Università Iuav di Venezia. In a class led by architect and furniture designer Franco Albini, they created their first collaborative piece, the Pigreco armchair, later produced with Gavina. After graduating in 1957, Tobia worked for Murano glass company Venini & Co. before the couple opened a studio in Afra’s hometown, Montebelluna, in 1960. (Tobia, the son of famed glass artist and architect Carlo Scarpa, was born in Venice.)

For Afra and Tobia, a close collaborative process was pivotal to the success of their designs. The duo was also prolific — they designed for the most influential European manufacturers, including B&B Italia, Cassina, Knoll and FLOS. With respect to the latter, Afra and Tobia were among the legendary Italian lighting maker’s earliest collaborators, and their pioneering designs for the brand included the Papillon lamp, one of the first fixtures to use halogen technology. Their most recognized designs include the Bastiano sofa (1962), the Vanessa bed (1959), the Coronado sofa (1966) and the Soriana seating collection (1970). Work on the Soriana sofa began in late 1969 for an early 1970 debut, and it feels as radical today as it did in its heyday.

Architecture was also a central part of Afra and Tobia’s practice, which spanned residential buildings and factories for Italian companies such as Benetton. Their commissions for the global fashion brand included numerous industrial projects, from textile plants to storefronts. By 1985, Afra and Tobia Scarpa’s work was celebrated in a 30-year retrospective at Center Four in Queens, New York. Looking around the 30,000-square-foot exhibition space, Afra joked to the New York Times, “Seeing all those things makes us feel very tired, and now we feel that maybe we worked too much.”

It was not too much for their legacy, as Afra and Tobia Scarpa’s work continues to inspire new generations. Scarpa designs are in collections at the Louvre, the Museum of Modern Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The couple was awarded the Compasso d’Oro in 1970 for the Soriana armchair.

Find vintage Afra & Tobia Scarpa furniture today on 1stDibs.

Average Sold Price
$7,988
Styles
Materials
Afra & Tobia Scarpa "Soriana" Lounge Chairs for Cassina, 1969, Set of 2
By Afra & Tobia Scarpa, Cassina
Located in Rovereta, SM
Afra & Tobia Scarpa "Soriana" lounge chairs for Cassina, black leather and metal, 1969, set of two. Although technically designed in the 1960s, the "Soriana" model by the Italian duo...
Category

Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Afra & Tobia Scarpa

Materials

Leather

Afra & Tobia Scarpa "Soriana" Two-Seat Sofa for Cassina, 1969, Italy
By Castelli, Afra & Tobia Scarpa
Located in London Road, Baldock, Hertfordshire
An Afra & Tobia Scarpa "Soriana" two-seater sofa manufactured by Cassina in Italy and designed in 1969. A unique design that after 50 years is hugely in-demand by interior designers...
Category

Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Afra & Tobia Scarpa

Materials

Steel

'Africa' Mid-Century Italian Dining Chairs by Tobia & Afra Scarpa for Maxalto
By Afra & Tobia Scarpa
Located in London, GB
A set of six dining chairs, the scarce 'Africa' model. Designed by Italian designers Tobia and Afra Scarpa. Italy, c1975. Walnut, ebony, brass and black leather. An ex...
Category

1970s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Afra & Tobia Scarpa

Materials

Brass

Afra & Tobia Scarpa 'Soriana' Chaise Lounge Chair with Ottoman in Red Corduroy
By Afra & Tobia Scarpa, Cassina
Located in Berlin, DE
Afra & Tobia Scarpa 'Soriana' chaise lounge chair with ottoman in red corduroy Iconic chaise lounge by Italian designer couple Afra & Tobia Scarpa designed in 1969 and produced by...
Category

Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Afra & Tobia Scarpa

Materials

Metal

Set of 6 'Africa' Chairs by Afra & Tobia Scarpa for Maxalto, Italy 1975
By Afra & Tobia Scarpa
Located in SITTARD, LI
A fantastic and highly desirable set 'Africa' chairs designed by Afra & Tobia Scarpa. Produced by Maxalto, Italy 1975. Solid walnut bases with ebony inlays, brass details and smooth ...
Category

1970s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Afra & Tobia Scarpa

Materials

Brass

Pair of Cassina Ciprea Lounge / Armchairs by Tobia and Afra Scarpa, 1970s, Italy
By Afra & Tobia Scarpa, Cassina
Located in Almelo, NL
Handsome club chairs made in Italy by Tobia and Afra Scarpa for Cassina. Organic, scooped-out shape and soft, quality leather make these chairs every bit as cozy as they look. The ch...
Category

1970s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Afra & Tobia Scarpa

Materials

Leather, Foam

Leather 2 Seater Bastiano Sofa by Afra & Tobia Scarpa for Gavina 60s
By Afra & Tobia Scarpa, Gavina
Located in Padova, IT
Leather 2 seater Bastiano sofa designed by Afra & Tobia Scarpa for Gavina 1960s. Rosewood structure with leather upholstery. Afra & Tobia Scarpa designed the Bastiano series for th...
Category

1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Afra & Tobia Scarpa

Materials

Leather, Rosewood

Afra e Tobia Scarpa “Polygono” Table Metal Glass by BeB, 1980, Italy
By Afra & Tobia Scarpa
Located in Milano, IT
Afra e Tobia Scarpa “Polygono” table metal glass by B&B, 1980, Italy.
Category

1980s Italian Other Vintage Afra & Tobia Scarpa

Materials

Glass

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Afra & Tobia Scarpa furniture for sale on 1stDibs

Tobia Scarpa & Afra furniture are available on 1stDibs for sale. These distinctive objects are often made of wood and designed with extraordinary care. In our collection of Afra & Tobia Scarpa furniture, there are many options to choose from, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. There are 282 vintage versions of these items in stock, while there is 0 modern edition to choose from as well. Many original furniture by Afra & Tobia Scarpa were created in Europe during the 20th century in the modern style of the mid-century. Many customers also consider furniture by B&B Italia, Mario Bellini and Ico Parisi if you’re looking for additional options. Prices for furniture from Afra & Tobia Scarpa can vary depending upon size, time period and other attributes. The price for these items starts at $347 and tops out at $85,000, while pieces like these can sell for $5,400 on average..

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