The Pontaio

Ihe Pontaio is a furniture duo consisting of a bookcase and a chair.

The project was commissioned by Sabina Blasiotti is an architectural designer withbased in London and has roots in Pescara, Abruzzo.

The material used is birch plywood (PEFC certified), and there are 1.5 mm adjustable steel cables and clamps (TÜV Nord certified). The furniture duo employed both conventional and innovative woodworking techniques in its manufacture. The multilayer curves were produced using a 5-axis CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine and toolpath programming with Alphacam CAM software. To ensure the excellence of the finished product, every single piece was meticulously polished by hand.

The Pontaio is a furniture duo that draws inspiration from the symbolism, aesthetics, structural integrity, and cultural significance of bridges to create an icon for the domestic space.

The design of the chair and bookcase incorporates elements that can be found in arched decks suspended from cables. These elements include two catenary arches that support the weight of both the shelves and the chair, transferring the load to the floor. This load transfer is accomplished through suspension cables that connect the shelves to the arch. The shelves themselves have a dual function: they provide planes on which to rest external loads, and they act as tie-rods that help maintain the integrity of the arches, preventing them from opening, by securing the shelves to the arch at the edges.

The design draws inspiration from Franco Albini’s iconic bookcase, Il Veliero. The result is Il Pontaio, a design characterized by the distinctive use of a classic form, the catenary curve, and a bold structure, the bridge, resulting in an easily recognizable aesthetic that resonates with distinct people on an individual level.

The bridges are a testament to how design can achieve its intended purpose and even exceed it by creating an iconic space. Likewise, The Pontaio aims to transcend its functional role as a piece of furniture and instead celebrates the unifying power of knowledge and culture, becoming a unique element andsymbolic icon of domestic space.

The Pontaio was exhibited at the 24th Salone Satellite, Salone del Mobile Milan.

Sabina Blasiotti graduated from the University of Westminster, London, with a master’s degree from Bartlett UCL. Before founding Sabi Space, he gained experience at renowned studios, including BIG in London and Kengo Kuma in Tokyo.

Sabina’s work is a testament to her insight, thorough research, and passion for challenging projects. His work has received international recognition, including awards from Azure Magazine, Architizer and UCL, and has been exhibited in such prestigious venues as the Royal Academy, Sir John Soane’s Museum and RIBA HQ. Sabina is currently continuing her studies and teaching as a visiting lecturer, promoting progress in the field.

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