Sacco by Zanotta: the iconic armchair which revolutionized POP culture

We are talking about ’68: pop art is in full swing, the world is in turmoil and an effervescent anti-conventionality fills the air. And three young designers from Turin, north west Italy, destined to make history, turn up unannounced at Aurelio Zanotta’s door, one of the key players in the field of non-conformist design. They were: Piero Gatti, Cesare Paolini and Franco Teodoro. The only thing they had with them, was the soon-to-be iconic armchair: Sacco (Italian for sack). In fact, Sacco is a real plastic sack filled with semi-expanded polystyrene beads. This is a truly ergonomic piece; it moulds itself to any body form. Sacco is also extremely lightweight and portable. 

Sacco is a real risk-taker and in a click of a finger, it revolutionized conventional furniture design for ever. This was a fresh new start for design: the first armchair without a rigid framed. And the “bean bag”, as it was known in the States, became one of the symbols of the young generation. Colourful, lightweight and deconstructed, Sacco is an object you can sink in, dive on, fall back on and chill on, in total freedom.

Sacco stands for informal relaxation, an ode to a new idea of comfort. It’s also an icon for Radicalism; its design overturned rules and conventions in a true brake with tradition.  What’s more, Sacco is an extremely modern and versatile piece, with a timeless aesthetic destined to outlive any fad or fashion. This is the only armchair which moulds itself to any body type, making us design our own relaxation.

It’s precisely like this that its notoriety was born. In fact, a complete versatility coupled with a characterful design; this is what made Sacco an icon in its own right. And it’s not just a coincidence that Sacco won the 1970 Compasso d’Oro prize. Two years after that it was shown for the first time at MoMa, New York. Now, it’s part of many permanent collections in some of the most famous art and design museums around the world like the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Triennale Design Museum in Milan. 

Sacco is a truly timeless piece, able to stay new and fresh. It even nods to the digital era. In fact, its two new versions, Medium and Small, are illustrated with digital prints, available in either lettering, 3D geometric patterns and large winking eyes…


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