The Tables of Carlo Scarpa

The Tables of Carlo Scarpa 1

Today I thought I’d bring across some stark looking design for all of you to admire. This furniture by Carlo Scarpa is sure to hold well against the cold weather that we’re experiencing here in the UK, and it was the perfect remedy for me over the weekend. I decided to sit through a short film early Saturday morning that had been produced by SIMON last month, as it hadn’t got many views I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular but I was instantly drawing parallels between Scarpa and my own design thoughts.

The video that I’ve placed below is basically shots of his furniture alongside a talk that Carlo Scarpa made before his death in 1978. It flows perfectly and effortlessly between the words and the tables, you start to build this picture up of the man and his ethos. It’s also fascinating to move through some of his buildings and experience the different design elements up close, admiring the tiny details and intricacies that makes Scarpa as a designer so fascinating. After partaking in my own little research, I’m going to pull out some points that I really admire about Carlo and link this together with his work, hopefully you’ll discover something new to bring away with you.

Carlo Scarpa was an Italian architect, designer and artist, who left the Venice Academy of Art in 1926 to begin taking on professional work. During his career he regularly visited a location called the ‘Fondamenta della Sensa’ in the Cannaregio, where they housed all sorts of craftsman, from cabinet makers, metal workers, even glass blowers. Often he would try out new ideas with the craftsman, experimenting with machined metal parts mixed with elaborately worked woods. As you can imagine, a lot of the architects at the time didn’t respect craftsman for their ideas, but Scarpa loved the two way process of design and would always collaborate. Interestingly, Scarpa took a massive amount of inspiration from artists like Mondrian, Albers and Mark Rothko, influencing patterns and colours in both his smaller works and his grander buildings.

One thing I have to say was a shock was his deep understanding of Japanese design and the influence that Japan had on his work. You can see this most significantly in the gardens that he designed throughout the years, manipulating water in a zen like way and often bringing in elements of the Japanese garden, such as a bridge or a walkway. Overall you have to admire him for his appreciation of the most basic materials, such as concrete and stone, that he expertly balanced against the higher scale, marble and different metals. Also, his passion for creating new forms that were realised through old traditional techniques is very admirable and is something we’re inspired by here. Hopefully you’ll go on to research him more after watching the video below, I’ve only touched the surface and I’m sure to be buying some books to expand my knowledge.

The Tables of Carlo Scarpa 2

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1 Comment

  • John Wigglesworth

    I to saw the short film on Carlo Scarpa and his beautiful tables, there is a problem though I own a Valmarana table purchased many years ago through my brother a designer himself.
    Whilst loving the beauty of it there is a flaw it is inherently unstable and pressure on the sides can tip it over, unusual for Scarpa as he is normally practical in his designs as well as stylish.

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