4 La Tonda steel and metal chairs by Mario Botta for Alias, 1980s

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€ 4,500.00


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Item description

Set of four dining chairs La Tonda with a black lacquered steel rod frame, seats and backs in bent perforated sheet metal. Designed by Mario Botta for Alias 1980s Italy. Mario Botta was born in 1943 in Mendrisio. After working as an apprentice draughtsman for the Lugano-based architect Tita Carloni, he moved first to Milan and then to Venice, where he enrolled at the department of Architecture at the IUAV. He completed his degree in 1969 with a thesis tutored by Carlo Scarpa – after having met Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn, who were later to be sources of inspiration – and returned to Switzerland to open his own professional firm, which at the time dealt mainly with detached family private homes. These included the villas in Riva San Vitale (1971-1973), Ligornetto (1975-1976) and Morbio Superiore (1982-1983), in which Botta treated the theme of the home as a refuge, which protects and reassures its inhabitants. These were buildings with a character that was ironic and, in a certain sense, monumental, obtained for example (in the case of Morbio) through rigorous symmetrical compositions and a particular use of raw concrete blocks set in a linear pattern and alternated with strips of silvered brick which, on the contrary, were set at 45 degrees. Partially dug into the hillside, the villa was also characterised by a theme which was particularly dear to Botta and which had already been explored in Riva San Vitale; the net distinction between solids and voids, the latter appearing to have been dug out of the building. Between 1980 and 1990, Botta associated with artists and intellectuals from all walks of life and took numerous long trips abroad. Together with Gabriele Basilico and Edoardo Sanguinetti, he published “La Casa Rotonda”, and he became friends with Max Huber, Nicki de Saint Phalle, Dante Isella, Harld Szeemann, Robert Frank and Alberto Flammer. In 1986, the MoMA in New York dedicated a solo exhibition to his work, and the Swiss architect received his first contracts for public buildings and from abroad, debuting with the Cultural Centre in Chambéry (1984-1987). In Japan, on a challenging triangular lot of only one hundred and sixty square metres, a space which remained from the opening of a new highway, Botta built a small building which, with its clarity and strength of image, attempted to stand out in the midst of the chaos that surrounded it, thanks to a thick masonry curtain raised on the main façade, in which slabs of grey marble are crossed with horizontal fissures which erode the angles and cancel the perception of the number of floors which make up the museum. The church of Mongo, on the other hand, was the first step in a long series of places of worship, including designs for the churches of Pordenone (1987-1992) and Sartiana (1987-1995), for the cathedral of Evry (1988-1995), for the basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli on Mont Tamaro (1990-1996, for the Giovanni XXII church in Seriate (1994-2000) and for the Cymbalista synagogue in Tel Aviv (1996-1998). In each of these, light plays a predominant role as a prime generator of space and a measure for the definition of time that passes with the various phases of the day, the months and the seasons. Light is, however, the main symbolic element, representing through its variations the uneasiness of humankind in the face of divine perfection. In this same period, the scheduling for the construction of a new School of Architecture, the Mendrisio Academy, took place. Inaugurated in 1996, it offered an alternative approach to teaching in contrast to the Swiss University system, in which an important role is played by humanistic subjects and by a copious group of well-known international professors: from Rykwert to Benevolo, Burkhart, Campos Baeza, Dal Co, Frampton, Mendes da Rocha and Zumthor. Recently, Botta’s activity – as with many other archistars – has moved towards the Far East, thanks to projects such as the Leeum – an art museum sponsored by Samsung which was completed in Seoul in 2004 – the hotel Twelve in Shanghai (2006-2012) and the two headquarters for Tata in India (1996-2003). With the completion of the Mendrisio Academy campus, construction began for the “Theatre of Architecture”, which opened in 2018. Along with his activity as an architect, Botta also works – less intensely – as a designer, for example designing the Quarta chair (1984) and the Terzo table (1983). The Swiss architect is also credited with the setting up of the BSI Architectural Award, financed by the BSI Bank of Lugano, which is presented to designers under the age of fifty.

ID: 6186-1683119835-62739

Item details





Very good





Time period

Mario Botta




Item sizes

76 cm


64 cm


48 cm


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