Ignazio Gardella’s Blevio table joins Molteni&C’s Heritage Collection, inaugurating a partnership with the Gardella Historical Archive: the first episode of a relationship based on research and exchange, destined to develop over the years to come. In 2015 Milan’s Galleria d’Arte Moderna, restructured by Gardella himself, hosted the exhibition on Molteni&C’s 80 years in the furniture business.
Designed in 1930, Blevio is a table that Gardella (1905-1999) made as a single model for his own family home, Villa Usuelli in Blevio on Lake Como. It is an extraordinarily harmonious and timeless piece of furniture, which today becomes collective heritage; it combines the purest features and intrinsic simplicity. Gardella was already an established figure on the Italian architecture scene and in those same years he designed Alessandria’s Vittorio Emanuele III Sanatorium (1928- 1938) with its rationalist chapel, the Hygiene and Prophylaxis Laboratory (1933-1938) and the Antituberculosis Dispensary (1933-1938).
Elegant and geometrically linear, the Blevio table is rich in design, in details that reveal themselves to the attentive eye. It is the result of a process that removed the superfluous, of the perfect synthesis between form and function, of the careful and selective use of the material that was to become its main aesthetic feature. It is a project that focuses on the essential and on the removal of decoration for decoration’s sake.
The upper part of the vertical supports is linked to the table top by means of two elements. The refined and unusual play of counter curves is also a structural stabilizing element: the geometric center of the semicircular extremities of the table top coincides with that of the vertical supports. The use of curved forms responds to the need to emphasize the continuity of the table top, avoiding interruptions. The original piece is coated in copper, a difficult material to keep using for contemporary dinner tables. Molteni&C’s Research and Development Center replaced the copper lamina on the wooden table top with a special metal powder varnish that gives the same effect of solidity and artisanal shine, conferring greater resistance.
As an alternative to the 320x96 cm varnished wood top (dimensions), a slab of Breccia Capraia marble was examined; this was inserted into the aluminium surface, for a total thickness of 4 cm. In addition, under the supervision of the Gardella Historical Archive, the proportions of the original design were scaled to match the heights of contemporary dinner tables (h: 77 cm), thereby guaranteeing the respect of the original shape.
At Villa Usuelli, the table is related to richly decorated rooms, 19th century floorings and to the family’s antique furniture. Thus in that particular context, the formal but sculptural simplicity of the Blevio table can create a dialogue with the surrounding rooms and with a variety of styles, demonstrating that it can be used transversally.