The chair of Chiavari is an extraordinary invention by Giuseppe Gaetano Descalzi's great creative genius.
He was a cabinet maker from Chiavari, and in 1807, encouraged by the Economical Society of Chiavari, Mr Descalzi (whose nickname was “il Campanino” that means “the guy of the bell”, because he descended from a family of bell ringers) gave birth to his famous creation that placed him into the history of minor arts.
It was immediately evident that the chair was unique: both the modern design, minimal and clear, free from the decorative excesses of that period and most of all, the innovative structure amazed - and still amazes – because they mix extreme lightness and inimitable robustness. It is said that to test the structural excellence of the chair, “il Campanino” threw it out of the window: its weight being a little more than one kilogram, it bounced off the ground but did not break, showing then its extraordinary characteristics.
It was thanks to its uniqueness that the chair of Chiavari quickly found a very wide diffusion into the most important courts in Europe and was admired by many famous men in history such as Napoleon III, Francis I of Bourbon, and more recently we saw it at the White House during the famous meeting between Reagan and Gorbachev.
The structural technique
Even if we have unavoidably introduced some electric machines, today's production of the chair of Chiavari still preserves its characteristics of craftsmanship and exactly follows the same steps that “il Campanino” himself used to make in its workshop, more than two centuries ago.
We chose the wood mostly from the Ligurian hinterland. It is here that the craftsman uses his expertise to identify the best trees to cut, responding to special dimensions and morphology. The cut is decided keeping in consideration the seasons and the lunar phases.
Just after the cut, the trunk is brought to the sawmill where, according to the carpenter's instructions, it is cut in different thickness boards, that will be used to realize the different parts of the chair.
The seasoning is a key moment to determine the quality of the wood and its resilience over time.
In order to obtain the best result possible, it has to be a rigorously natural process, during which air flows spontaneously and makes progressive drying of the wood possible. Time of seasoning depends on the thickness of the boards, but usually, we need from 2 to 5 years to obtain an optimal results.
The manufacture can only beig once the wood is perfectly dried.
Then, boards are transferred to the workshop and the different parts of the chair are traced and cut.
Firstly, they are moulded with the help of manual control machines and then hand finished in detail eliminating even the smallest defect. We need to smooth the pieces for hours to obtain the perfect surface. Some of the components are turned manually with a finish that is not achievable with any industrial machine.
We need a certain strength and several blows to complete connections.
This is why our chairs are long-lasting guaranteed. .
The actual machining can start
only when the wood is dried
to perfection ...
They first of all carpenters , with histories and different backgrounds but share the same passion : to shape the wood with their own hands.
The woven seatitself contributes to the robustness of the structure. Fine, but very resistant fibres of Indonesian rush are woven with fast and secure movements by patient hands, straight on the assembled structure, following a warp and weft design.
Polishing is the step that complete the chair: it exalts the material details and makes them anti-ageing and wet resistant.
In compliance with the artisanal nature of the product, the range of colours and finishing is very wide, in order to meet all client's taste, even the most demanding ones'.