Tobia Scarpa was born in Venice in 1935, where he graduated in architecture (IUAV) in 1969. Curious designer, in his long professional activity he has been dealing with architecture, restoration, set-ups, industrial design, graphics, teaching.
Starting from the 1960s, he established himself as a leader in industrial design, through collaboration with Venini, Gavina, Flos, B&B and Cassina. For Dino Gavina he designed Pigreco chair (1960), Bastiano sofa (1960) and Vanessa bed (1962), pieces that later became iconic on the international design scene. Always alongside the Bolognese entrepreneur he took part in the creation of Flos, for which he designed numerous lamps including Fantasma (1961), Foglio (1966) and Biagio (1968). He then collaborated with various important Italian and international companies (Molteni, Unifor, Maxalto, Goppion, Meritalia, Skipper, Poggi, Knoll, Casas, San Lorenzo, Stildomus, Veas, Flaver, Estel, Ono, Testi Fratelli, Atanor, Benetton).
Numerous houses were built for different clients, new homes: Casa Lorenzin (1976), Daolio (1988), Meroni (1992); and restorations: Villa Fragiacomo (1975), Casa Tonolo (1978), Casa Casas – Martinez (1989), Casa Montezemolo (1992), Casa Cacchione (2005) and Casa Roversi (2007).
Important restorations were carried out for public and private institutions: Palazzo del Monte in Reggio Emilia (1989), Loggia dei Cavalieri in Treviso (1990), Palazzi Brusati Bonasi in Carpi (1994), Museo del Mercato Vecchio in Verona (2000), and Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice (2013) with the related set-up of the ground-floor rooms (2015-2019). Finally, we recall the recovery plan for the Certosa Island in Venice (2010).
The “C. T. Scarpa” museum, inside a former church in Treviso is under construction.
Between 2001 and 2009 he devoted himself to teaching at the Universities of Venice and Alghero.
He received several international awards, starting with Compasso d’Oro in 1969 for Soriana chair, followed by Neocon Merit Award in 1982 for Master series; Primer Premio Nacional de Diseño Otorgado for Ronda, Veronica and Albero in 1987; Auszeichnung für hohe Design Qualität for Pierrot in 1992; Industrie Forum Design Hannover award for Menu table in 1992. In 2008 he was awarded the Compasso d’Oro for his achievements during his career.
His works have been included in permanent collection of important museums, such as Libertà chair at Louvre in Paris, and have been selected for temporary exhibitions at Triennale di Milano and Venice Biennale; at the Third National Exhibition of Carrara Marble, “Design aus Italien” in Karlsruhe, “New Domestic Landscape” in New York, “The Work of the Silversmiths’ Studio San Lorenzo” in London, “Interior Declaration: Italian Apartments 1947- 1993” in Milan, “Architecture for the industry. The Benetton case” in Oderzo. XXX the 2012 Venice Biennale, Hornu.
Solo shows were held in Milan (“Afra and Tobia Scarpa, architects and designers”, Padiglione d’arte contemporanea, 1985), New York (“Afra and Tobia Scarpa, architects and designers”, International Design Center, 1985), Preganziol (“Nel mondo di Afra e Tobia Scarpa”, Bornello La Piazza, 1992-93), Chicago, Toronto, San Francisco, Los Angeles (Italian Cultural Institute, 2004-2005), Bordeaux (Carlo Scarpa and Tobia Scarpa, “Dialogo sospeso”, Musée des Arts décoratifs de Bordeaux, 2012).
Many articles in national and international magazines and essays featured his work. Most recent monographs have been published by Electa in 2009, RGEditore in 2014 and the book-movie by Marsilio in 2015.
In 2020 Tobia Scarpa realizes for Paradisoterrestre three limited edition artworks, starting from an interpretation of Melencolia I, enigmatic masterpiece by Albrecht Dürer.