The flyweight

Gio Ponti: Superleggera Chair, 1957

In Italy, there is a very popular chair, which has been produced for more than 200 years in a fishing village near Genoa. Gio Ponti wanted to further develop this chair. He mainly changed the shape of the backrest: he tilted the backrest backwards above the centre line because he believed this shape to be more ergonomic – it adapts better to the shape of the human back. So the sitting position is more comfortable.
Gio Ponti also wanted the chair to be lighter so that you could lift it with only one finger. And he succeeded! To achieve this, he used special materials: ashwood does not weigh much, yet it is very stable. And the cane seat is also lightweight and firm. The legs are constructed as slim as possible.

Altogether, the chair weighs only 1.7 kilograms and is ‘superleggera’ meaning super light. In order to prove how light and stable the chair was, Gio Ponti threw it out of the window from the fourth floor of a building. When the chair hit the ground, it bounced like a ball and survived without any damage.