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Bean bag - History
A design idea that comes from ancient suggestions, from possibilities given by innovative materials or perhaps from a brilliant intuition of its creators.
This is what the famous Sacco chair is!
For us who sit today, it seems to merge the idea of comfort of soft Ottoman cushions with western armchairs, for a surprising new shape.
In reality, the idea was entirely Italian, by three designer architects active in 1968: Piero Gatti, Cesare Paolini and Franco Teodoro.
Since then, the Sacco has been a jewel of industrial design, and today it represents a milestone, exhibited in various museums around the world!
Italian design, worldwide success for Sacco
Coming out of the three designers' architectural studio in Turin, the armchair was initially rejected (the prototype was not to the liking of the chemical company to which it was presented). Subsequently, the Sacco was proposed to a well-known Milanese furniture company, where it went into production after a revision process.
Exhibited at the Paris Furniture Fair already the following year, in 1969, it became a coveted armchair, of great commercial success , and also began to define a new style of interior furnishings.
Over the years it also obtained awards, such as in 1970 when it was selected for the Compasso d'oro Award, which it then received in 2020 (the XXVI Compasso d'Oro Award).
It was exhibited in the 1972 exhibition Italy: The New Domestic Landscape at the Museum of Modern Art in New York .
Today the Sacco is an armchair on permanent display in various museums including the MOMA - Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the Triennale Design Museum Foundation in Milan and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, at the Denver Art Museum , the Kunstmuseum in Düsseldorf, the Shiodome Italia Creative Center in Tokyo and the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.
A beautiful... and comfortable Sacco: why the armchair was created
Conceived as an experiment outside the classic lines of furniture, in the minds of architects it exploited new materials to give the armchair qualities of lightness, versatility... softness!
The idea of a seating object that is no longer rigid but soft, functional and ergonomic is combined with innovative lines. A beanbag, in fact, is an anatomical armchair, but still gives a unique style - creating a disruptive visual point at the time.
The will of those years to change the conventions (we are in '68), the usual habits and the style of life, was perfectly embodied in Sacco. Over time, this strange but fascinating armchair became a "cult" object in some interior design projects.
The principle that began to circulate then, and which takes up the comfortable oriental seats, is that of informal comfort. The objects adapt to the shapes and needs of the human body , enveloping it as in a soft and comfortable armchair.
The seat is soft, yielding, deformable... everything happens without physical and mental rigidity.
A sack that helps the fluidity of movements, conciliating with every shape being a large armchair.
Another point that was very striking at the time was its ability to carry the armchair just like a sack.
The first prototype even had a handle, which made it a "nomadic" chair for every corner of the house.
Shapes and materials of the beanbag over time
Right from the start, the armchair has a soft interior, and an equally yielding exterior, reminiscent of an easily transportable jute sack.
Over the years the "shapeless" capacity of the bag has also been amplified with the increasing possibilities of always being unstable, even if comfortable, thanks to plastic materials and models in leather or eco-leather.
The rigid structure does not exist and has been replaced, since its inception, by thousands of polystyrene balls that populate the interior of the Sacco armchair.
Outdoors, the armchair has often been associated with a bean (the British call it a bean bag), a drop or a pear. In any case, it changes with every seat and with every body that experiences it, and the Sacco armchair is certainly much loved by children and pets!
Today Saccos can be created with materials other than plastic such as leather, velvet or suede, but certainly the waterproof and stain-resistant qualities of plastic materials are the best for practicality.
It is an armchair that has become famous in the imagination also thanks to some quotations in pop culture. Like the cinematic one by Paolo Villaggio who struggles to sit down (Fracchia the human beast) or the Peanuts strips made by Charles M. Schultz, with the famous Snoopy.