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The Panchetto Reclining Chair
Panchetto Reclining Chair by Rito Valla
It’s Valla-time again: antibeige proudly presents two ‚Panchetto‘ reclining chairs. The paddings are expertly reupholstered (including handstitching) in two different colour sets of the extremely elegant ‚Grafico‘ fabric, collection ‚Alchimia‘, by French luxury brand ‚Elitis‘. They can be transformed into stools by adjusting the back rest, so they provide for a very flexible usage.
The straight and lightweight frame structure is made from lacquered metal. Designer Rito Valla (1911-1991), trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna and worked as a sculptor in the novecento expressionist style, realising sculptures, statues and monuments. The midcentury saw the rise of the cocktail chair: smaller, lighter and easy to move around when a few more guests arrive.
Maybe the Italians did it best, because the tradition of the „aperitivo“ asked for it anyway. But also because Italian companies in particular were very experimental in the 60s: new materials, new production processes and bold designs. A fine example is the company “IPE” (an acronym for „Imbottiture Prodotti Espansi“ – meaning “expansive cushion products”).
Located near Bologna, they worked as one of the very first companies with polyurethane, a chemical material that was highly innovative for those years since it was soft and tough. And, of course, much cheaper than the time-consuming manual processing of springs, horsehair, feather down and other materials. The first new products by “IPE”, the Kosmo and Mercury armchairs, were exhibited, highly successfully, at the first edition of Milan’s international furniture fair in 1961, followed by the ‚Panchettos‘.