Chiavarina: feather-weight elegance on the Italian Riviera
|wood manufacture is a tradition in Chiavari|
The “chiavarina” (i.e. from Chiavari, a town on the eastern Liguria Riviera) is a wooden chair created at the beginning of the 19th century by renowned cabinet maker Giuseppe Gaetano Descalzi, whose nickname - "Campanino" – hinted at his family’s professional past (bell-ringers). A simplification of the so called French Empire style (Louis XV→Directory), it featured extraordinary light structure, solid joints and hand-woven, thin stripes made of purple willow (Indonesian cane is used today), artfully tied directly to the frame of the seat.
Tight as a drum, the original “chiavarina” crafted by Descalzi weighs only
Immediate success originated the start up of several manufacturers in Chiavari and its surroundings (not to forget the benefits for employment rates). However, the mid 19th century saw the rise of competition of industrial Austrian Thönet chairs - mass-produced, easily assemblable and cheaper. Still manufactured by heroic craftsmen (Levaggi, Lusardi, Podestà…), nowadays the “chiavarina” is a source of inspiration to architects and designers (and a challenge to modernity). Interestingly to note, its wood still comes from the forests of the entroterra – and this provides another reason to explore Chiavari and the Tigullio area!
Chiavari (via Bighetti, 73) also boasts the artistry of a capable wood carver who produces molds for local pasta format known as croxetti (see photo).
This is the fascinating world of tastes and crafts that LiguriabyLuisa discloses to foreign markets and buyers.
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