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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
$7,898
Styles
Materials
20th Century Afra & Tobia Scarpa Dining Table Model Tobio with Marble Top B&B
By B&B Italia, Afra & Tobia Scarpa
Located in Turin, Turin
Since their first meeting at IUAV in Venice to their move to the Venetian countryside, Tobia Scarpa and Afra Bianchin shared first a degree, then a marriage and a career that marked ...
Category

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

Materials

Marble

Africa chair by Afra & Tobia Scarpa for Maxalto, 1970s
By Maxalto, Afra & Tobia Scarpa
Located in amstelveen, NL
Afra & Tobia Scarpa for Maxalto, 'Africa chair', black leather, walnut, ebony, and brass, Italy, 1970s Part of the Artona collection by Maxalto. The drawing on the back of this se...
Category

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

Materials

Brass

Afra & Tobia Scarpa Bastiano Sofa, by Gavina, Italy 1960
By Gavina, Afra & Tobia Scarpa
Located in New York, NY
A classic and chic three-seat sofa from the Bastiano series, designed by the iconic Italian designer duo Afra & Tobia Scarpa for Gavina, Italy, circa 1960. This sofa has a solid rose...
Category

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

Materials

Fabric, Rosewood

Round 'Africa' Table, Designed by Afra & Tobia Scarpa, for Maxalto 'Artona'
By Maxalto, Afra & Tobia Scarpa
Located in New York, NY
Round 'Africa' table, designed by Afra & Tobia Scarpa, for Maxalto 'Artona' Series. The circular top in ebony wood, with the outer rim in ebony and walnut. The whole is supported o...
Category

1970s Italian Vintage Afra & Tobia Scarpa

Materials

Ebony, Walnut

Pair of Leather Soriana Lounge Chairs by Scarpa for Cassina
By Afra & Tobia Scarpa
Located in London, GB
A pair of leather armchairs by Afra and Tobia Scarpa for Cassina. The rare and much sought after Soriana model. Italy, c1970s. The leather is in very good condition. Loca...
Category

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

Materials

Leather

Monk Dinning Chairs by Afra & Tobia Scarpa for Molteni, 1970s
By Afra & Tobia Scarpa, Molteni
Located in Lasne, BE
Set of 4 chairs in fabric and wood. Hessian fabric. Seat height: 42cm Wear due to time and age of the chairs.
Category

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

Materials

Fabric, Wood

Afra and Tobia Scarpa Three Seater Soriana Sofa for Cassina, Italy, 1970s
By Cassina, Afra & Tobia Scarpa
Located in London, GB
Winner of the compasso d’oro award in 1970, the Soriana led Italian couple Afra and Tobia Scarpa to instant success. Together in 1968 they designed a three seater cloud-like sofa for...
Category

1970s Italian Modern Vintage Afra & Tobia Scarpa

Materials

Metal

Afra & Tobia Scarpa for Molteni Dining Table in Walnut
By Molteni, Afra & Tobia Scarpa
Located in Waalwijk, NL
Afra & Tobia Scarpa for Molteni, extendable dining table, walnut, Italy, 1970s Functional table designed by Afra & Tobia Scarpa for Molteni. The table is executed in beautiful and...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

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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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