A cabin on the SS THE BIG RED BOAT II, ex EUGENIO C, while she was laid up in Freeport, showing two of these chairs in situ. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2002.

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Small Armless Chairs
by Gio Ponti collaborator
Nino Zoncada.  From EUGENIO C.

Small Armless Chairs
Wooden Legs
27 Inches Tall by 17 Inches Wide
17 Inches Deep
Seat Height 14.5 Inches
Price:  $150.00

These sweet, comfortable chairs (almost ottomans due to their diminutive size) were made by the famous manufacturer Cassina for Nino Zoncada's brilliant Costa Line flagship EUGENIO C. They were originally in the ship's cabins although most of them disappeared over the years. A few of them survived and I was able to a very small quantity once the ship reached India..



The splayed legs are wooden. The fabric on some of these is fine as is, depending on your taste. I am not certain if it is the original Costa covering or something that was put on the chairs in more recent years. As always, I will sell those in the best condition first.

Giovanni (Nino) Zoncada was born in Venice in 1898 and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts (Venice). In 1923, he began working in the interior and furnishing department of the Cantieri Navale Triestino of Monfalcone, becoming one of its directors by the end of the following decade. He joined forces with the Milanese architect Gio Ponti in the late 1940s and they worked together on their first project, the refurbishing of the CONTE BIANCAMANO, followed shortly thereafter by the CONTE GRANDE. Gio Ponti, of course, is possibly the most celebrated Italian designer of the 20th Century, which speaks highly for Zoncada, who is not as well known outside of ship history, but whose work may be the most important of the era. Zoncada designed or contributed to almost every major transatlantic Italian liner of the 1950s and 1960s, including: GIULIO CESARE, AUGUSTUS, ANDREA DORIA, CRISTOFORO COLOMBO, LEONARDO DA VINCI, MICHELANGELO, and RAFFAELLO. In addition, he designed practically the entire Costa fleet from the ANNA C refit in 1948 (including the brilliant EUGENIO C of 1966) all the way through to the CARLA C (ex FLANDRE) in 1968. OCEANIC, AUSONIA, GRIPSHOLM, STELLA OCEANIS, and STELLA SOLARIS are but a few more outstanding ships to emerge from his studios. Zoncada died in 1988 and the STELLA SOLARIS was his final commission.

One cannot praise the efforts of Italian authors Maurizio Eliseo and Paolo Piccione enough for their brilliant book, TRANSATLANTICI, available on Tormena Press. In it, there is much information on the underrated Zoncada and the other great Italian designers of the mid-20th century. Also, Paolo Piccione and Matteo Fochessatis CROCIERE NELL ARTE and ARTE IN VIAGGIO are two invaluable references.