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Tobia Scarpa

Italian, b. 1935

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.

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 Scarpa 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.)

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.

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 Tobia Scarpa table lamps, sofas, dining chairs and other furniture today on 1stDibs.

Average Sold Price
$5,390
Styles
Materials
Related Creators
Woven Black Ash Wood Dining Chair Molteni&C by Tobia Scarpa - made in Italy
By Tobia Scarpa, Molteni & C
Located in New York, NY
Miss Chair in Black Ash Wood and Leather by Afra and Tobia Scarpa. Expert-crafted in Italy exclusively by Molteni&C. Husband and wife powerhouse designers...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Modern Tobia Scarpa

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Ash

FLOS Foglio Wall Scone in Steel, by Tobia Scarpa
By Flos, Tobia Scarpa
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Resembling a shirt cuff, the contemporary Foglio wall lamp from design master Tobia Scarpa is a mixture of timeless and contemporary design. The lamp’s body is formed by powder paint...
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21st Century and Contemporary Italian Modern Tobia Scarpa

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Steel

FLOS Foglio Light in White by Tobia Scarpa
By Tobia Scarpa, Flos
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Resembling a shirt cuff, the contemporary Foglio wall lamp from design master Tobia Scarpa is a mixture of timeless and contemporary design. The lamp’s body is formed by power-painte...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Modern Tobia Scarpa

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Steel

FLOS Ariette 2 Medium Dimmable Wall Lamp by Tobia Scarpa
By Flos, Tobia Scarpa
Located in Brooklyn, NY
It looks like a stunning wall sculpture: organic, airy, and breathtaking, the Ariette wall lamp is a work of art by Tobia Scarpa. Providing diffused light, it features a synthetic fa...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Modern Tobia Scarpa

Materials

Fabric, Plastic

FLOS Ariette 1 Small Dimmable Wall Lamp by Tobia Scarpa
By Flos, Tobia Scarpa
Located in Brooklyn, NY
It looks like a stunning wall sculpture: organic, airy, and breathtaking, the Ariette wall lamp is a work of art by Tobia Scarpa. Providing diffused light, it features a synthetic fa...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Modern Tobia Scarpa

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Plastic, Fabric

Quarto Wall Sconces by Tobia Scarpa for Flos in Nickel and Lucite, 1970s
By Tobia Scarpa
Located in Pound Ridge, NY
Large half bowl wall sconces designed by Tobia Scarpa for Flos, in nickel-plated steel and Lucite lens reflector. Six available. Avantgarden Ltd. cultivates unexpected and exceptional lighting, furniture and design. To view items in person please visit our showroom in Pound Ridge...
Category

1970s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Tobia Scarpa

Materials

Cut Steel, Nickel

"Bastiano" Lounge Chair by Tobia Scarpa
By Tobia Scarpa
Located in Los Angeles, CA
"Bastiano" Lounge Chair by Tobia Scarpa for Gavina. Original Leather in Oxblood Brown. Italy; c1960s
Category

1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Tobia Scarpa

Materials

Leather, Mahogany

Set of 8 Monk leather Chairs by Afra & Tobia Scarpa for Molteni, Italy 1974
By Afra & Tobia Scarpa, Tobia Scarpa, Carlo Scarpa, Molteni & C
Located in Argelato, BO
Set of 8 leather and wood chairs model Monk, Afra & Tobia Scarpa for Molteni, Italy It is one of the most iconic and refined models by the famous Italian architect and designer coup...
Category

1970s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Tobia Scarpa

Materials

Leather, Wood

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Creators Similar to Tobia Scarpa

More Tobia Scarpa Designs
Tobia Scarpa Foglio Sconce
Tobia Scarpa Foglio Sconce
Average Price
$3,050
Number Available
14
Tobia Scarpa Foglio Sconce
By Tobia Scarpa
Materials
Metal
Styles
Mid Century Modern
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Tobia Scarpa furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Tobia Scarpa furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of metal and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Tobia Scarpa furniture, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. We have 128 vintage editions of these items in-stock, while there is 36 modern edition to choose from as well. Many of the original furniture by Tobia Scarpa were created in the mid-century modern style in europe during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Carlo De Carli, Giovanni Offredi, and Gastone Rinaldi. Prices for Tobia Scarpa furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $345 and can go as high as $29,456, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $4,358.

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