Son of architect Carlo Scarpa, Tobia Scarpa (1935 -) was born, raised and established career in Italy. With the contribution of his wife, Afra, in projects which almost all major and large international companies are included, such as Flos, Cassina, Knoll and B & B. Together they developed a vocabulary for affordable luxury design based on the expansion of technology and a wide variety of materials. Tobia and Afra attended the Instituto Universitario di Architettura in Venice. In the 50s they began career, working with Venini crystals. In 1960 they decided to open his own design office in Montebelluna.
The pieces of furniture that they started to design, such as the chair model 917, manufactured by Cassina in the 60s, were developed for use of sumptuous and understanding of the need for comfortable furniture, yet elegant, which were becoming very popular during this period in Italy. These projects were simpler and perhaps more traditional than some of its contemporaries competitors, although they used materials and entirely modern methods in its development. Thus, they attracted an audience that needed modern furniture, but, notwithstanding, could still live peacefully with the antiques that still decorated their home environments. “Bastiano” is an example – couch, chair, armchair style and table – designed for Gavina and reissued later by Knoll is an icon of this design philosophy and became one of the largest sales of its time.
In 1966, they designed the “Coronado” armchairs series for B & B, which were also very successful. This was the first padded furniture. The work of Scarpa for Cassina also had the help of some of the greatest designers of its time, such as Gio Ponti, renowned for his 1968 “Ciprea” chair. These two chairs were shown in an exhibition at MoMA in 1972 as representations of the recent work of Scarpa. Along with Castiglioni, the Scarpas were asked then to design the first models for Flos company fixtures, started by Dino Gavina. His lamp “Papillion” for Flos (1973) was one of the first projects to use the new halogen technology.
The duo also worked with Scarpa architecture and designs commercial interiors, especially towards the end of his career. One of their most famous works was for the clothing company Benetton. In addition, several interior design projects in Italy are attributed to them. Tobio Scarpa was also a professor of the School of Industrial Design in Venice.