Giuseppe Gaetano Descalzi

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Giuseppe Gaetano Descalzi
OccupationFurniture maker
Known forChiavari chair

Giuseppe Gaetano Descalzi (1767-1855) was a Genoese furniture maker, best known as the inventor of the Chiavari chair.

Giuseppe Gaetano Descalzi was born in Chiavari in the Republic of Genoa in 1767, the son of a cooper. He was called "il Campanino" ("the bell ringer") because his grandfather was the bell-ringer of the Bacezza church.[1] Descalzi was apprenticed to one of the best master carpenters of Chiavari, and became a master craftsman himself.[2] In 1795 the Descalzi brothers opened a furniture workshop.[3] In 1796 he received a silver medal for two wooden chests of drawers from the Chiavari Società Economica, which had been founded five years earlier by the Marquis Stefano Rivarola.[1] Descalzi introduced the use of a polished slab of San Giacomo slate as a tabletop, a low-cost alternative to marble.[4]

Chivari Fruitwood Ballroom Chairs

In 1807 Rivarola challenged Descalzi to design a new, modern chair based on a chair that he had brought from Paris.[1] Descalzi created a simple, practical and elegant design for a cherrywood chair.[3] The chairs are both light and robust.[5] Descalzi exploited traditional knowledge, paid strict attention to quality and developed new manufacturing techniques.[2] Chairs using the "Chiavarine" design became extremely popular and were purchased by many of the monarchs of the time.[1] Descalzi's furniture designs won numerous medals at trade shows.[6] His sons Emanuele and Giacomo and their descendants continued the chair making industry that he had founded.[1] Many other factories opened in Chiavari and the surrounding towns, and some continue to make furniture today.[7]