DONDOLO

CESARE LEONARDI & FRANCA STAGI

The dondolo − the name means “rocking chair” in Italian − was designed in 1968 by the Italian duo Cesare Leonardi and Franca Stagi. In its own way, it is a total work of art. Its decidedly futuristic appearance is a perfect illustration of how space travel influenced the ways in which shapes were conceived during the 1960s. The Dondolo was being produced at the same time as man first set foot on the moon. The use of fibreglass enabled the item to be moulded as a single piece. An example of sculptural perfection, the chair forms a loop, conveying and serving its purpose in a spirit of elegant abstraction. The fluting − the grooves moulded into the material − provides a a very high strength-to-weight ratio, while the interplay between the hollow and solid areas, and between light and shade, produce an extraordinary impression of movement and fluidity. The seat and back seem to “float” in the air, suggesting something of the weightlessness of space travel. 

Available in three colours [white, grey and blue], the Dondolo was one of the main pieces presented in “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape” [MoMA, 1972], an exhibition that celebrated Italian design.

Italian architect and designer CESARE LEONARDI [b. 1935] became interested in design during the second year of his course at the School of Architecture in Florence. The key elements that characterise his work became apparent from the very first year of his studies, as he sought to optimise the performance of the material he used, and to achieve a synthesis between structure and form. With these aims in view, he developed a partnership with FRANCA STAGI [b.1937] at a very early stage in his career. Together, they conceived the Ribbon CL9 armchair in 1961. It comprises a continuous band of fiberglass [GRP], supported on a tubular metal base. An example of this model is also held in the ADAM.

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