Lariana Chair
Italy, 1936 / c. 1990
Giuseppe Terragni

Chrome-plated tubular steel, beech plywood
17 × 23½ × 36¼”

Giuseppe Terragni (1904—1943) was a very influential Italian architect of the first half of the 20th century. Though his career was relatively short, lasting only 13 years, Terragni’s Rationalist architectural work is still considered one of the most influential drivers of the modernist architecture in Italy. It is important to note the lamentable fact that his work and style, as those of other Italian architects of his time, were heavily influenced by the fundamental elements of Fascism and its aesthetics.

By the end of the 1920s and during the 1930s, Terragni had put many of the Rationalist theories and approaches into practice in prominent architectural projects in Como and beyond. In addition to the innovative Novocomum apartments, built between 1927 and 1929, Terragni designed the Casa del Fascio, an office building to house the local offices of the Fascist government in the heart of the city of Como, between 1932 and 1936. Built in the shape of a cube yet employing cantilevered terraces and stairwells to animate each façade with geometric rhythm, Terragni’s Casa del Fascio became a key milestone in his growing acclaim as a designer. It was during this time that the young architect Ico Parisi became his apprentice and did an important and influential photographic architectural study of Casa del Fascio, which he published in Quadrante magazine.

Giuseppe Terragni produced several furniture pieces and designs, mostly for the office building Casa del Fascio. Some were for his few other buildings, such as Casa Stecchini, but all of them were originally produced in very small quantities. In 1971, Zanotta reintroduced Terragni’s popular Lariana chair, designed in 1936. The Lariana side chair was designed to be comfortable but also to discourage slouching or lounging, as Terragni thought that there was no need for bureaucracy under the Fascist regime. Later on, Zanotta also introduced the Follia chair, originally designed in 1934. —Casati Gallery

(Photo: Wright)