ToTo and ZaZa by Zanotta


Brand Stories

Zanotta are a celebrated Italian furniture brand with a reputation for experimentation, outstanding craftsmanship and good humour. We look at the story behind the brand, at some of their newest pieces, and dip into their rich archive of images.

Zanotta are a family-owned Italian manufacturer with a long-held reputation for creating avant-garde furniture pieces that have had a major influence on the global culture of design.

SCP is holding a specially composed exhibition of their designs at the SCP Contracts Showroom on the first floor of Curtain Road in February and March. The show blends together a range of the new designs with a number of their classic pieces in a zonal layout created to encourage interaction and discussion.

Leg and arm detail from the new ZaZa sofa by Studio Zaven for Zanotta
A classic Sacco chair, first designed in 1968 by Piero Gatti, Cesare Paolini and Franco Teodoro for Zanotta

New Product Focus

The exhibition is composed of new and classic upholstery pieces, easy chairs, side, coffee and occasional tables, as well as storage, mirror and rug designs. A range of complimentary fabrics have been chosen for the show to create a vibrant yet liveable colour palette.

With over thirty designs on display, it’s difficult to choose highlights, but we wanted to present three of Zanotta’s 2022 pieces that have really captured the imagination.

ZaZa sofa by Studio Zaven, 2022

ZaZa is a sofa born out of mono-bloc research, created to provide an embracing kind of comfort, with soft lines and an aesthetic that also reflects how it is made. It is a discerning product, with a rationalised production methodology.

"ZaZa is a work of synthesis and deconstruction, where the classic elements that make up the sofa have been individually examined, broken down and reduced to their bare essentials”.

Studio Zaven

ToTo tables by Bertrand Lejoly, 2022

A graphic sensibility and playful geometry define these modular round coffee tables designed to complete the sofa area by providing a support surface at different heights and widths. ToTo is a versatile collection that pays homage to the joyful aesthetics of Memphis, with a modern twist.

ToTo tables by Bertrand Lejoly for Zanotta, 2022

“Toto for me is the idea of joy and elegance brought together in a single piece of furniture.”

Bertrand Lejoly
Curved version of Noah by Damian Williamson for Zanotta, 2022

Noah sofa by Damian Williamson, 2022

A system of mono-bloc and modular sofas with a graphic, elegant and timeless design, defined by well-balanced proportions and compact dimensions.

Noah sofa system, by Damian Williamson for Zanotta, 2022

“A slender rectangular platform upon which all elements are connected. Visually weightless, it morphed into an optional curved module to create a relaxed and convivial atmosphere with seating positions that facilitate eye contact.”

Damian Williamson

Zanotta Exhibition List

The full list of Zanotta products on show at SCP is as follows:

Sacco, Easy chair
Sella, Stool
Sciangai, Clothes stand
Quaderna, Small table
Mezzadro, Stool
Noah, Sectional sofa
ToTo, Coffee table
ToTo, Side table
Cumano, Service table
N°2 Campiello +, Swivel armchair
Maggiolina, Lounge chair and ottoman
Toto, Side table
William, Monobloc sofa
Basello, Small table
Niobe, Coffee table
Susanna, Armchair
Reale CM, Table
Gilda CM, Armchairs
Carlino CM, Storage unit
N°4 Nena, Small armchairs
Tempo, Small table
Milo CM, Mirrors
Fenix CM, Chair
Za:Za, Monobloc sofa
Tweed Mini, Coffee tables
N°2 Karelia, Armchairs
N°2 Aster, Clothes stand
Quaderna, Rug
Servomuto, Service table

Quaderna Collection, archive promotional image supplied by Zanotta.

Zanotta, A Short History

Zanotta was founded by entrepreneur Aurelio Zanotta in 1954, with a manufacturing plant in Nova Milanese, an area just north of Milan, where it is still situated today. Initially the company focused on creating traditional upholstery pieces but soon began to commission designers that were more associated with the experimental and forward thinking ideas that were emerging in Italy at the time.

The iconic Mezzadro stool by Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni for Zanotta, photographed at Achille's beautifully maintained Milan studio.
The iconic Mezzadro stool by Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni for Zanotta.

"There has to be irony both in design and in the objects. I see around me a professional disease of taking everything too seriously. One of my secrets is to joke all the time."

Achille Castiglioni

Throughout the 1960s Zanotta sought to push the boundaries of what design product was, through both continual material research and through the application of innovative technologies in the manufacturing process. The company has some groundbreaking success working with designers such as Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, Gae Aulenti, Ettore Sottsass and Alessandro Mendini. With the 1968 Sacco chair (commonly known as the “Bean-Bag” chair) by Piero Gatti, Cesare Paolini and Franco Teodoro, the company created a piece that became a motif for a new modern way of living and sitting. The iconic Blow Inflatable Chair by Paolo Lomazzi, Donato D’Urbino and Jonathan De Pas from the previous year also became something of a symbol of the age.

Original promotional image for the Sacco chair, imaged courtesy of Zanotta
Original Advertising for the Sacco chair, launched in 1968.

Through the 1970s the company continued to develop innovative pieces with the likes of Superstudio and Joe Columbo, as well as re-issuing some of their earlier designs from the 1950s that had been seen as too revolutionary at the time, such as Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni wonderful Mezzadro Seat, which they first conceived in 1957.

Original Quaderna promotional imagery, courtesy of Zanotta.

The company continued to develop new designs and special collections throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Company founder Aurelio Zanotta, died in 1991, but two-years before he had been asked to explain the atmosphere of the early years of the company, and summed them up as such:

"Those were years of great vitality, there was an explosion of constructive energy, a profound desire to sweep away the past and create a new world. The phenomenon of Italian design grew out of this widely felt urge to renew everything."

Aurelio Zanotta

The sense of wanting to continually renew, and to push towards a better future, has been hard-wired into the company’s DNA. Since Aurelio’s death, the company has remained in family ownership, and since 2002 had been run by his children Eleonora, Francesca and Martino Zanotta.

In over six decades, Zanotta has produced over 500 designs, maintaining a reputation for experimentation combined with excellent quality and craftsmanship. They explain their philosophy as one of “intuition, risk-taking and curiosity”, which goes some way to explain why they have remained relevant and vibrant all these years.

Sacco in Tulip fabric, Zanotta.

Zanotta designs are widely celebrated, and a number of their iconic pieces are held in museum collections around the world.

A big thank you to the team at Zanotta for supplying images and information, we look forward to seeing you at SCP.

Zanotta Collection