Archetypes: Celestina


The chair designed by Marco Zanuso

Designer Marco Zanuso

Project year 1978

Production year 1978

Typology Folding chair

Frame in black or white painted steel. Seat and backrest in nylon slats covered in cowhide.

Size 42x50xh82cm

The Design Museum, London; Vitra Design Museum di Weil am Rhein; Fondazione Triennale Design Museum, Milan.


The oldest and most popular folding chair is reinterpreted by Marco Zanuso upon request of Aurelio Zanotta after he’d seen it on the Promenade de la Croisette in Cannes. He’d perceived it, as he often did, as being an important piece that needed to be thoroughly examined and reproduced, consolidating its functional and aesthetic values. He was famous for saying, “Architect, this is Cinderella: make her into a princess.” The idea of the designer: the industrial adaption of a ‘familiar’ object via noble materials and refined detailing. In making the classical wooden or metal wire folding chair more noble Zanuso has combined the practicality of new materials that are modern and indestructible with the refinedness of a cowhide seat that is comfortable and elastic.


During the reacquisition of the traditional chair, essential forms are discovered, developed and made more sophisticated. Past and future meet in the choice of materials: nylon is covered with cowhide, and in turn, the cowhide covered slats are fixed to the frame with special copper nails. The final product is a lightweight chair that is essential and easily adapts to any environment, it’s practical to store when folded (it’s no wider than a few centimetres) and comfortable to use when open. Double choice of finishes: black or white painted steel, to coordinate with a wide variety of cowhide tones.