Cover Photo: Courtesy of At Liberty

The Chiavari Chair, one of the world’s most sought-after designs, makes its Asian debut, alongside a collection of Italian artisanal products

Home furnishings have taken on a whole new importance in the last year, with so many of us spending more and more time indoors. We’re paying more attention to design, not just aesthetically, but also at form and function.

And while new designs are being crafted to bridge this gap, The Chiavari Chair by Eligo has done just this since the 19th century. Italian design studio Eligo is dedicated to bringing Italy's traditional crafts to the forefront of contemporary design, preserving a rich design legacy while giving designers and architects the freedom to innovate.

What began as a local craftsmen’s trade has risen to become one of the world’s most sought-after pieces of furniture. Not only has it reached iconic status in its own right, but it went on to inspire generations to follow, including the late Italian architect and designer, Gio Ponti.

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It’s been seen everywhere from John and Jackie Kennedy’s wedding in the 1950s to VIP tables at the Oscars and Golden Globes. The versatile design is now available in more than 1,000 colour variations.

A range of materials and design options is displayed in a showcase of Chiavari Chairs at a House of Madison pop-up until April 15. Curated by Ahlaiya Yung, founder and creative director of Metasus, Salon 10 and Studio 9, together with Kate Jones from At Liberty Studio the exhibition marks the Chiavari Chair’s first-ever appearance in Asia.

Originally designed by Gaetano Descalzo—a craftsman from the Chiavari town in Liguria, Italy (known for its woodwork)—the chair broke free from popular designs of the time. Eschewing big, bulky solid wood frames for a lightweight design that combines wood and straw, the chair used only the best and most durable local materials.

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As well as a showcase of the varied Chiavari designs, the pop-up highlights a number of Italian-designed products with a shared reverence of craftsmanship and elegance. These include pieces by designers Pietro Russo and Paola C, hand-knotted designer rugs by Italian artisanal textile company cc-tapis, and the cooper cookware series by Eligo.

Chiavari chairs are available for sale and commission through Metasus and At Liberty Studio, and will appear in an upcoming group show at The Shop House, a contemporary exhibition and concept space, from April 14 to May 9. The pop-up retail space at House of Madison also offers a range of design and consultation services for both consumers and industry professionals.

Visit The Chiavari Chari by Eligo launch and retail popup at House of Madison, located at 183 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai (open 10am-7pm Monday to Saturday and 11am-6pm on Sundays). Learn more about the Chiavari pop-up here