Massimo Farina, Furniture Maker


Massimo Farina 1


“On the Bauble”


Massimo Farina 2I’ll be honest about this. It’s the wood that first attracted me to this particular website, or rather, what was done with this wood. I’ve done my share of work with mahogany and walnut, to name just two of the many glorious woods Massimo Farina uses as his canvases, but I have to say I never once created a work of art like these. What he has done is nothing short of extraordinary. Mr. Farina is a Venetian designer and architectural engineer who strikes me as being more wizard than anything else, both in the designs he creates and in the execution of said designs.


Start with the basic design. Who even thinks up a chair like the Saturn chair that tops this blog? Let’s start with its name, one he gave it because he was actually influenced by the perfect equilibrium between the rings of the planet Saturn, if you can believe such a thing. But once he had an idea of somehow making a chair that represented the rings of Saturn, he then had to come up with some sort of design that would, at project’s end, actually be a chair. It’s a concept considerably easier said than done. And his problems did not end with a design for his chair because he then had to execute it. Here’s the other thing about a mind that is innovative enough to create a chair like that. It becomes just the beginning.


More recently, Mr. Farina has created the New Medieval armchair, which is a trip all unto itself. Looking at it, I am again intrigued with the sort of mind that looks at something as prosaic as a simple chair, and somehow creates things that absolutely never were. This time round Mr. Farina is said to have been inspired by the gondola, one of the icons of his own Venice, Italy. Truly, though, I think he must have been inspired by something in the water or the air, or maybe just the ambience of a warm Italian sun.


Massimo Farina 3People look at something like these chairs and invariably ask, “Where does this guy get his ideas?” Damned if I know! But as I’ve often pointed out, there is considerably more to creativity than a good idea, because once you have it, you must then bring it to life. With something like a chair, that can be difficult indeed. Start with the fact that it’s a chair, which means there are standards, and that in turn, means that something as creative as what Mr. Farina has come up with here has its own host of problems.


A chair needs to be sturdy enough to hold anyone who may conceivably sit in it. It must survive the usual abuse of those who never learned how to sit in a chair properly. Those of you who have teenagers know what I’m talking about. There are also the basic standards that apply to any chair. The seat must be sixteen to eighteen inches above the floor; the back must tilt back at eleven degrees, and the seat really should tilt up at five degrees if the chair is to be comfortable.


Let’s face it, a chair that’s not comfortable isn’t much of a chair at all. And I say that knowing full well that one of my favorite architects, Frank Lloyd Wright, often designed chairs that looked dramatic—and couldn’t be sat in for an extended period of time. With Wright it was always straight lines and right angles, so his chair bottoms were horizontal to the floor, and the backs were perfectly perpendicular, which mean that not even Mr. Wright could bear to sit in his own chairs for more than half an hour or so! Form follows function. It’s one of the oldest axioms of design, but those who ignore it invariably produce products that are no more than attractive. And, really now, we’re not buying baubles when we go in search of seating, right?



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