Zanotta Sacco Chair History

Sacco chair (transparent prototype), designed by Piero Gatti, Cesare Paolini, and Franco Teodoro, Zanotta, Italy, 1969.

On the occasion of the Sacco chair's 40th anniversary in 2008, Zanotta interviewed co-designer, Piero Gatti, who provided some wonderful information about history of the chair's development that Switch Modern is eager to share.

"I remember that period quite well, because these days everyone is asking me to tell them the story of the '60s and Sacco and the meeting with Aurelio Zanotta.  Four decades have passed since then, but evidently this informal armchair continues pleasing."  Referring to his co-designers, Cesare Paolini and Franco Teodoro (both are now deceased), Gatti had remarked that "we had a lot of fun and I miss our moments together."

Left photo:  A vintage marketing photo of the Sacco chair.  Right photo:  A group portrait of the designers from the 1960s - Piero Gatti, Cesare Paolini, Franco Teodoro.

Zanotta asked Gatti about his special memories associated with the Sacco chair. Gatti responded, "It was 1967, and ergonomics was still a pioneering concept.  The three of us (we had already worked together) were thinking about a flexible chair, something different - not the same old armchair. Something that followed body movements. In those years, the concept of the relationship with the body was strongly felt at all levels - art, music, literature and fashion. And this concept was more or less quietly recurring when it came to design.  After a series of experiments, the first version of Sacco was a PVC, reinforced, transparent object filled with polystyrene balls. It had a handle so it could be moved around easily.  I want to stress that this was not a "pop" invention for us, but rather a precise project.  It was a researched and rational object made of two hexagonal shapes comprising the upper and lower bases, and segments that fit together with a series of seams.  The first thing we did was to obtain segments sewn by our mothers that were 170 cm long, made with a transparent, plastic material.  Then we found an artisan who made driver's license holders and we asked him to use the same plastic to make us a prototype.  We took pictures of it.  After this test, we continued through alternating phases.  First, we had a contact in the U.S. following a publication in an American magazine (Long Furniture Daily), we also went to 3M and then department store Macy's saw the magazine and their proposal took us by complete surprise. They wanted to know if we could produce 10,000 pieces right away!  This is when we met with Zanotta.  He understood the force behind Sacco and was able to immediately start working on the first functional prototypes.  The rest is history."

As we fast forward to 2022 and the soon-to-be 55th anniversary of Sacco, the lounge chair's original size has been joined by two smaller versions - Sacco Medium and Sacco Small - the latter is popular for children.  In addition to the range of solid color textiles and leathers, Sacco is now available in select patterns.  The recently introduced VIP textile is available in 9 colors - its thick composition makes it ideal for contract applications; it can even be used outdoors!

Left photo:  Sacco being used outdoors.  Right photo: In addition to a range of solid and patterned textiles, Sacco is available in a leather version.

Left photo: Zanotta's new VIP thick textile can even be used outdoors - it's available in nine solid colors.  Right photo: Sacco is now available in three sizes - the small version is perfect for children.

This iconic design is part of the permanent collections of a staggering 27 museums worldwide including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris; Museo del Design, Milan; Kunstgewerbemuseum, Berlin; Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris; Design Museum, Gent; Powerhouse Museum, Sydney; and Museum of Art, Tel Aviv.

You can now experience the Sacco chair first hand at Switch Modern's Atlanta showroom.  For more information about this design or any of Zanotta's extensive range of home furnishings, please contact us at 404-605-0196 or

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