A “sackful” of hopes


It took a “sackful” of courage
A revolutionary “sackful” / A “sackful” of courage
A “sackful” of everything

It was back in 1968 when Piero Gatti, Cesare Paolini and Franco Teodoro arrived at Zanotta. In that year of social revolution, these three synergic young architects were determined to demolish the concepts of the bourgeois home. To do so, they held in their hands (literally!) a new idea: a totally new type of seat in the form of a large sack made from vinyl cord, partly filled with tiny balls of polystyrene. They showed their prototype to Aurelio Zanotta, a courageous and ready-to-experiment businessman who had already manufactured products considered “unthinkable” at the time, like the Blow inflatable armchair by Pas, D’Urbino and Lomazzi.

Zanotta was quick to appreciate the design's communicative and disruptive power so, in 1969, the Sacco chair officially went into production, with a few technical improvements and a guarantee of quality.

These are the facts behind the design: the rest is history. Sacco has became part of our collective imagination, appeared on stamps along with other icons of Italian design, has been re-interpreted on many occasions and in many different ways (for football teams and anniversaries, transformed into a sculpture and adopted by the worlds of art and fashion). It has entered popular national culture through the Peanuts cartoon strips and in the unforgettable scene of Fracchia in the office of his boss.

Selected for the Golden Compass award in 1970, Sacco also appeared at the MOMA in New York in 1972 as part of the legendary exhibition “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape”. It now forms part of numerous museum collections around the world. And it is still one of Zanotta's best selling products, having never experienced a drop in sales figures.

The fact is that Sacco is a perfect expression of the 1968 motto of “all power to the imagination” which called into question all established rules of social conduct, culture, personal relations, and collective action. Also rejected were traditional ways of living, with their formality, bourgeois environments and rigid armchairs. Sacco was the opposite - soft, structureless and anti-conformist. The definitive anti-chair, Sacco appeared at a time when architects and designers began to reflect on the importance of ergonomics and young people were demanding a new approach to the human body. Sacco responded perfectly to the demand for a universal chair capable of adapting to all users. An innovation, a provocation, a revolution, and perfectly in line with the ideals of creativity and freedom of the period, Sacco was “a concept, not a shape”. As such it has been able to symbolise an epoch and survive for fifty years. Today, in our nomadic homes and hybrid work spaces, Sacco is just as modern as ever.

The 50+1 celebrations start at the stand in the Salone del Mobile international furniture exhibition with the presentation of a sculpture in white Carrara marble dedicated to Sacco by the Indian artist Krishnaraj Chonat.

Then, in Piazza XXV Aprile, at the old "custom house" showrooms of Zanotta and Tecno (which became the parent company of both brands in 2017), an installation of Sacco and Sacco Small seats will be available for adults to relax on and kids to have fun on as they listen to talks and public conferences.