The son of architect Carlo Scarpa, Tobia Scarpa was born and has spent his career in Italy. He's collaborated with his wife, Afra, on designs for nearly every major international company, including Flos, Cassina, Knoll and B&B Italia. Together, they developed a vocabulary for accessible luxury design based on expanding technology and a wide variety of materials.
Tobia and Afra both went to school at the Instituto Universitario di Architettura in Venice. In the late 1950s they began their joint career working with the Venini glassworks. In 1960 they opened their own design firm in Montebelluna. The furniture they began designing, like Chair Model 917 (manufactured by Cassina in the early 1960s and produced in walnut or ash with leather or fabric upholstery), was built on an appreciation for sumptuous materials and an understanding of the need for the comfortable yet elegant designs that were becoming popular during that period in Italy.
These designs, simpler and perhaps more classical than that of some of their contemporaries, utilized entirely modern materials and methods of construction. They attracted people who needed modern furniture that could coexist with the antiques that still decorated their homes.