Ponti's first masterpiece: the 646 Leggera
ou will surely remember the in-depth analysis that we dedicated to Gio Ponti's 699 Superleggera not long ago.
Although not as famous and acclaimed as the "sister", the 646 Leggera equally deserves the status of Icon of Design in our opinion.
At the end of the 1940s, Ponti, always fascinated by the theme of naval furniture, is working on the renovation of the interiors of four ocean liners.
It is in this context that the fundamental meeting with the Cassina company takes place. Equipped with exceptional craftsmen and carpenters, this Brianza-based company has created a top-level design and executive synergy with Ponti.
The fruits of this long and intense partnership have become milestones in the history of industrial design, see the famous 699 Superleggera (which you all know!)
owever, many ignore the existence of the important progenitor of the 699: the 646 Leggera, designed in 1952 for Cassina.
"At the end of the second war I fought to assert a lighter, more transparent style, connected to a simpler way of life".
This is Gio Ponti's mantra after the difficult years of the war; his research is all aimed at simplicity and lightness.
Taking the very traditional Chiavari chair as a reference model, the designer has created several prototypes over the years before arriving at the perfect chair.
he 646 Leggera is the happy outcome of these experiments: a discreet, essential and modern chair.
It is special, different from the contemporary chairs: it is very light and it is the first chair with pointed supports with a slightly folded back. The tapered and clean line gives it a sober yet refined look.
There is not a single nail in the entire structure, the chair is assembled only with joints and glue with manic precision.
To differentiate it from the Superleggera are the uprights and the dimensions: the Leggera still has the circular uprights (the Superleggera has them triangular) and is a few centimeters larger.
ts strengths? Thanks to the slightly more generous dimensions, the Leggera is decidedly comfortable as well as structurally very solid.
Also keep in mind that the Superleggera has never gone out of production since the launch year, while the Leggera returned to production (after several decades) just in 2017.
his makes the 646 tend to be rarer and more difficult to find. To date Cassina also produces the Leggera in the variant with armrests.
Obscured by the incredible success of its most famous sister, the 646 Leggera has for many years been underestimated and considered merely a "prototype" of the Superleggera.
The truth is that it is an incredible design product that shines with its own light, an absolutely avant-garde object.
As always we are already working on next week's appointment: if you have any suggestions or suggestions, they are welcome.
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