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Lina Bo Bardi Chairs

Brazilian, Italian, 1914-1992

The Italian-born Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi came to imbue the pure and lofty if somewhat bloodless tenets of modern design with the warm and earthy character of her adopted homeland.

Bardi was born in Rome and graduated in 1939 from the Università degli studi di Roma “La Sapienza” with a degree in architecture. She moved to Milan, worked with Gio Ponti, among other modernist luminaries, and began a career in design journalism. Bardi served as an editor for Ponti’s groundbreaking magazine, Domus, and in 1945 traveled for the publication throughout Italy with a photographer, documenting the physical destruction wrought by World War II.

Bardi moved to Brazil in 1947 with her husband, art dealer and critic Pietro Maria Bardi. There Pietro helped establish the São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP) while his wife resumed her work in journalism and soon launched her architectural practice. Her first building project was designing a house for herself and her husband on a hillside in what were then the outskirts of São Paulo.

Built in 1951 and known as Casa de Vidro (or Glass House), it is a glass-walled box set on slim steel columns, inspired equally by the Bauhaus and Le Corbusier. Its interiors, with their mid-century furnishings, folk-art pieces and ethnographic curios, are reminiscent of those of Charles and Ray Eames’ house in California. (Bardi also created the interiors of the original MASP and was a natural choice to design the second museum when the institution had outgrown its first home.)

As a furniture designer, Bardi demonstrated flair from the start. The Bowl chair, designed in 1951 but not manufactured until Italian furniture maker Arper recently issued it, is a marvel of versatility. The seat can be swiveled to satisfy any attitude of repose or dismounted to serve as a rocking baby crib. That same year, she made the throne-like Bola de Latão chair, which in place of arms has stanchions topped by brass balls. Its slung leather seat and backrest have unfinished edges secured with lacing, giving the piece an artisanal, perhaps even sexual, air.

In the late 1950s and early ’60s, Bardi designed cushioned chairs with wooden frames whose softened angularity recalls the work of Pierre Jeanneret and Marcel Breuer’s 1938 furniture designs for Bryn Mawr College. But Bardi’s furniture construction and aesthetic sensibilities evolved in tandem with her populist principles. Her embrace of Brazil’s social mosaic was most fully expressed in her last major project, and her masterpiece: a combined cultural and recreational center in São Paulo known as the SESC Pompéia.

Built in stages between 1977 and ’82, the complex has as its core a renovated drum factory. In it, Bardi — to use architectural parlance — created a nonhierarchical environment, with equal prominence and care given to areas as disparate as theaters, sports facilities and places for old folks to sit and gossip or play chess.

Bardi’s last chairs, designed for the center, are built of solid wood, sturdy and durable with simple and graceful forms. They seem to suggest that the most interesting thing about a piece of furniture should be the person using it.

Find vintage Lina Bo Bardi furniture on 1stDibs.

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Creator: Lina Bo Bardi
Lina Bo Bardi, One Chair "Girafa"
By Lina Bo Bardi
Located in PARIS, FR
In 1986, Marcelo Ferraz and Marcelo Suzuki teamed up with Lina Bo Bardi to work on a series of projects in Salvador, such as the Casa do Benin restaurant and the Teatro Gregório de M...
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2010s Brazilian Mid-Century Modern Lina Bo Bardi Chairs

Materials

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Mid-Century Modern Set of 4 "Girafa" Chairs by Lina Bo Bardi, Brazil, 1986
By Baraúna, Lina Bo Bardi
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Manufactured by the Marcenaria Barauna workshop in São Paulo and designed by Bo Bardi, Ferraz and Suzuki as part of their Casa do Benin Restaurant in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, the Gir...
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1980s Brazilian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Lina Bo Bardi Chairs

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Lina Bo Bardi SESC Stools Pompeia, Brazil, 1980
By Lina Bo Bardi
Located in Roosendaal, Noord Brabant
Striking pair of 'SESC' stools designed by Lina Bo Bardi, Marcelo Ferraz and Marcelo Suzuki and created for the centre SESC Pompeia in Sao Paulo, Brazil 1980. This stunning brutalist...
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1980s Brazilian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Lina Bo Bardi Chairs

Materials

Pine

"Masp 7th Abril" Chair, by Lina Bo Bardi, 1947, Mid-Century Brazilian
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This iconic chair was designed by the Italian-born Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi (1914-1992) for the MASP's auditorium when it still was placed on 7th April street. The write...
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1940s Brazilian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Lina Bo Bardi Chairs

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Leather, Rosewood

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Lina Bo Bardi chairs for sale on 1stDibs

Chairs Lina Bo Bardi are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are often made of wood and designed with extraordinary care. There are many options in our Lina Bo Bardi collection to choose from, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. In-stock we have 4 vintage editions of these items, while there is also 0 modern edition to choose from. Many customers also consider chairs by OCA Brazil, Geraldo de Barros and José Zanine Caldas if you’re looking for additional options. Prices for Lina Bo Bardi chairs can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. The price for these items starts at $17,000 and tops out at $26,000, while pieces like these can sell for $25,000 on average.

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