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Superb Pair of Suede Willy Rizzo Lounge Chairs, Signed Studio Willy Rizzo, 1969

$12,000per set


Extremely rare pair of signed Willy Rizzo lounge chairs finished in suede with stainless steel bases. These are very early examples which were produced by the 'Studio Willy Rizzo' in Rome in 1969, recognised by the Willy Rizzo signature in the fabric. Original Signed early period Willy Rizzo lounge chairs are very rare, 95% of the output of this design were produced as either two, three or four-seat sofas and the individual lounge chairs are very rarely seen on the market today. This iconic design featured prominently in the prestigious Italian design periodical 'Casa Vogue' throughout the early to mid-1970s including a feature on Rizzo ad Elsa Martinelli's own home in St Tropez, France in the October 1974 issue which illustrates this design. Please see image 4. These rare chairs have had their upholstery completely renovated including new seat support strapping, new foam and suede upholstery to the original specifications. The Willy Rizzo signatures from the original upholstery have been carefully cut from the original worn fabric and sown to the underside of each chair to maintain the authenticity. Photos of the restoration process are available on request. Please see image 10 as an example. Literature:- CASA VOGUE, October 1974 (features this design in the home of Elsa Martinelli and Willy Rizzo in St Tropez,France). See image 4 CASA VOGUE , JUNE 1975 CASA VOGUE, September 1975, Please see IMAGE 9 CASA VOGUE, November 1976, Please see IMAGE 8 Willy Rizzo is best known as a photographer. He began his illustrious 20 year career with Paris Match in 1948 which lead to him photographing some of the greatest names of the period. Rizzo was married to italian actress Elsa Martinelli,which gave him unparalleled access to the star names of the period and his cornucopia of sitters would include among others Brigitte Bardot, Sofia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Jane Fonda, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Salvador Dali,Pablo Picasso and Le Corbusier. His colour portrait of Winston Churchill made the cover of Paris Match. Herge even based the character of Paris-Flash photographer Walter Rizotto in Tintin’s adventure "The Castafiore Emerald" on Rizzo. In the late 60s, Rizzo focused instead on furniture design, opening the Studio Willy Rizzo in Rome . His design's quickly enjoyed considerable success. His imagination and severe neoclassical style defines the Italian design style between 1965 and 1980 In the last few years there have been several major Willy Rizzo retrospective exhibitions held in New York,London, Monte Carlo and recently an exhibition in Paris on Rizzo's work on Le Corbusier.


  • Creator
    Willy Rizzo (Designer)
  • Dimensions
    Height: 33.86 in (86 cm)Width: 27.96 in (71 cm)Depth: 40.56 in (103 cm)Seat Height: 14.97 in (38 cm)
  • Sold As
    Set of 2
  • Style
    Mid-Century Modern (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
    circa 1970
  • Condition
    Reupholstered. Wear consistent with age and use. Restored with new seat suport strapping and high quality 'Pantera' foam and re-upholstered in a mushroom colour suede upholstery. The original Willy Rizzo signatures have been cut from the original worn fabric and sewn onto the new suede.
  • Seller Location
    bergen op zoom, NL
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU93016406673

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    Ships From: bergen op zoom, Netherlands
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    A return for this item may be initiated within 7 days of delivery.

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About the Designer

Willy Rizzo

Renowned Italian furniture designer Willy Rizzo is celebrated for having produced eye-catching, sensational showpieces that merged plush fabrics with wood, metal and glass. Influenced by European modernists and drawing on the spare forms and clean lines of the American mid-century modern style, Rizzo prized functionality and simplicity in his dazzling work.

Born in Naples, Rizzo never intended on designing furniture. Instead, he began pursuing photography at the age of 12. By the 1960s, he had become a notable photographer, having captured images of such celebrities as Marilyn Monroe, Fred Astaire and Spanish artist Salvador Dalí. His experience with furniture design came about inadvertently when he moved to Rome in 1966. There, Rizzo rented an apartment with his wife Elsa that he described as "practically uninhabitable." Dissatisfied with the Scandinavian furniture options on offer, Rizzo built sofas, coffee tables and other furniture to suit the space's strong modern vibe. When his friends saw what he had accomplished, they were enamored by his furniture creations and commissioned him to build similar items for them.

The demand for Rizzo’s furniture grew from there. He established a production facility and workshop in Tivoli, just outside of Rome, which grew to house over 150 employees. There, finding inspiration in the work of iconic architects including Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, he created more than 30 unique furniture designs. Over the years he opened boutiques around the world to showcase and sell his furniture.

Rizzo prided himself on seamlessly blending the contemporary with the classic. “It was about creating something new for a traditional setting,” he said of his work. From his sleek sideboards to his low-profile side tables, elegant chairs and entire living room sets, Rizzo's style sensibility is evident throughout every detail of his designs.

Rizzo sold his company in 1978 and returned to photography. However, the presence of his furniture resonated into the new century and is sure to impact interior décor enthusiasts into the next. Over the years, high-profile collectors of Rizzo’s work have included French actress Brigitte Bardot, Salvador Dalí and American musician Lenny Kravitz.

On 1stDibs, find a range of vintage Willy Rizzo tables, lighting, seating and storage pieces.

About the Seller
Located in bergen op zoom, Netherlands
Gold Seller
These expertly vetted sellers are highly rated and consistently exceed customer expectations.
Established in 1999
1stDibs seller since 2012
319 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: <1 hour
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