The leading Italian manufactuer Tacchini has reissued two of design legend Achille Castiglioni's striking designs – the 'Sancarlo' armchair and sofa, originally produced by Driade, and the 1958 'Babela' armchair, created with his brother Pier Giacomo for the Milan Chamber of Commerce.
The Castiglioni studio was established in 1938, with the collobration between Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni garnering both national and international success, and lasting until 1968, when Pier Giacomo died.
'Sancarlo' armchair by Archille Castiglioni, originally for Driade and now in production once more by Tacchini
'Sancarlo' armchair by Archille Castiglioni, originally for Driade and now in production once more by Tacchini×
The 'Sancarlo' is a highly successful exercise in the marriage of visual lightness and ergonomics. With the furniture’s perfectly placed upholstered elements, the user receives optimal support while sitting. Both the armchair and sofa are two pieces whose graphic appearance dovetails remarkably with comfort.
'Sancarlo' sofa by Achille Castiglioni, reissued by Tacchini
'Sancarlo' sofa by Achille Castiglioni, reissued by Tacchini×
Achille, in his own words, explains the genesis of the 'Sancarlo' project:
'The "Sancarlo" was born of a request made to me by Driade. It was twenty years since I had last designed an armchair, at a time in which myself and my brother Pier Giacomo had designed the "Sanluca", which I still consider to be a very important piece. It had been very well acclaimed by critics at the time but never had success because it was not born of a production concept.
'In the new project, the concept of separate elements for the lumbar support, back support and head rest comes entirely from the Sanluca chair. It is an ergonomic feature which is strong and valid and can now be introduced with today’s technology utilising different density and independent cushions. The structure is based on bent tube, evoking memories of Bauhaus: the reason for this being simply that it still works. The only thing which has been changed is the finish, – in place of the traditional chrome a paint finish allows choice of colour and a finish which is pleasingly tactile.'
'Babela' armchair by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, back in production thanks to Tacchini
'Babela' armchair by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, back in production thanks to Tacchini×
Designed for the interiors of the Chamber of Commerce in Milan at the end of the 1950s, 'Babela' was originally put into production by Gavina. The armchair had a metal structure and a very square and uniform upholstery, on the seat as well as the back. It was designed to be comfortable whilst helping to maintain an upright position and furthermore to be stackable to minimise the use of space when not in use.
With the same principles and with minor improvements, the Castiglioni family and Tacchini decided to experiment with the structure by using wood instead. The general shape and upholstery remained unchanged producing a much lighter chair and in addition an easily removable cover. Bearing in mind the needs of today, it has been designed as it was back in the 1950s for meeting rooms, hotels and restaurant areas.
The stackable 'Babela' armchair was originally designed for the the interiors of the Chamber of Commerce in Milan at the end of the 1950s
The stackable 'Babela' armchair was originally designed for the the interiors of the Chamber of Commerce in Milan at the end of the 1950s×
And so the new edition of the stackable 'Babela' armchair is born (the name 'Babela' coming from biblical tower of Babel). After a lengthy development and appraisal of the prototype with Tacchini, the result is undoubtedly a modern success, even if its roots are from the golden age of Italian design. An armchair with class and elegance, an expression of minimalism with its reduced forms, just as the Castiglioni brothers would have liked.