Sunday, April 24, 2011

Capitello armchair | Studio 65 | Gufram, Italy | 1971

Capitello armchair Studio 65Capitello armchair
Studio 65
Gufram, Italy, 1971

In Italy throughout the 1960s and 1970s, radical design groups were established in opposition to the pure functionalism of the International Style. Studio 65 was formed in Turin, Italy in 1965 by Franco Audrito and a group of young architecture and art students. Engaged from the earliest stage in social and environmental conflicts, they established theories and comprehensive approaches to architecture, design and art.

Studio 65 logoClick to be taken to the website of Studio 65.

The ironic adaptation of classical elements by Studio 65 predates the historicist designs of such 1980s postmodernists as Robert Venturi and Michael Graves in America and Hans Hollein, Ricardo Bofill, and Aldo Rossi in Europe, and it also takes note of pop art developments of the period.  The adaptation of the classical to the modern is readily apparent in the design of the Capitello armchair.

Ionic column capital

Capital.  Image source:  Wikipedia.

The Capitello armchair is constructed from polyurethane foam that has been molded into a shape approximating the uppermost architectural element of the Greek Ionic column: the capital.

Capitello armchair

The Capitello armchair.  From Studio65 by Franco Audrito, p. 52.  The Capitello, Attica and Foglie d’Acanto sofa were all “designed to desecrate the myth of classicism.”

As shown below, instead of being flat, the top part of the chair is depressed to allow for use as a seat.

Capitello armchairCapitello armchair. Image source:  Sam Kaufman Gallery via 1stdibs.

Capitello armchair

Front view of the Capitello armchair. Image source:  Sam Kaufman Gallery via 1stdibs.

Capitello armchair

Detail of the Capitello armchair.  Image source:  Sam Kaufman Gallery via 1stdibs.

The ironic humor of the Capitello armchair lies in the fact that soft, pliable modern polyurethane has been shaped as a hard, load-bearing form representative of an important symbol of ancient Greek architecture. Together, Attica and Capitello can be made to form an entire column.

Attica and Capitello column

The entire column made of Attica and Capitello chairs.  Image source.

The visual references derived from architecture and art supersede functionalism, as indeed they do in most objects designed by Studio 65 and other antidesign groups of this period, transforming furniture, jewelry, accessories, and even architecture itself into objects of fantasy. 

Attica, 1972
Image Source

Studio 65
Attica chair


Bocca, 1971
Image source

Studio 65

Bocca sofa

Capitello, 1971
Image Source

Studio 65

Capitello armchair

Chiocciola, 1971
Image Source: eBay

Studio 65
Chiocciola chair

Stool, ca. 1968
Image source

Studio 65
Apple stool

Heller released the Capitello design in 2004 in one piece roto molded polymer.  Heller also released Bocca the same year.Capitello armchair, Heller

Heller Capitello armchair technical data sheet

Technical Data sheet for Heller reissue of the Capitello armchair.

Contact Studio 65 at

Studio 65
via Po, 14
10023 Torino
T +39-11-8395691  
F +39-11-8125592


Chiggio, E. (1986). Studio65, Electa, p.91.

Collins, M. (1987). Towards post modernism. Boston, Ma.: Little, Brown and Company, p. 128.

Fiell, C. and Fiell P. (1997). 1000 Chairs. Cologne, Germany: Benedict Taschen Verlag GmbH, p. 491.

Stimpson, M. (1987). Modern furniture classiccs. New York: Whitney Library of Design, p. 156.


Audrito, F. (2001). Studio65. l’Arca Edizioni, Italy, p. 52.

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