The stool Mezzadro by Zanotta is one of the well-known creations of Achille Castiglioni, who designed it in 1957 together with his brother Pier Giacomo. The seat exactly resumes a shape of the seat of a tractor, applying the principles of Duchamp ready-made to the furniture, that take up a shape of common use by moving it into a completely different context.
Presented in a first prototype at the XI Triennale of 1957 and then re-proposed in its current version within the famous setting of the exhibition “Colors and shapes of today’s home” at Villa Olmo, the Mezzadro stool distances itself strongly from the rationalism in vogue in those years and recovers elements and suggestions of peasant culture and the landscape of everyday objects, favouring the search for a warm familiarity.
The stool is a collage of different parts that are de-contextualized from their original function: in addition to the moulded sheet metal seat, marked by circular holes for perspiration, the chromed steel support leaf is also taken from the tractor, which is however turned upside down to guarantee a seat more sprung and more legroom. The two elements are fixed with a wing nut, taken from the design of the bicycles, while the base is stabilized by a rudimentary and effective wooden beam.
The Castliglioni brothers have managed with Mezzadro to create a design that is still very current and full of irony, capable of balancing the tension with the new with the nostalgia for a small ancient world. The Mezzadro stool has been mass-produced by Zanotta since 1970. In addition to the famous version with the red seat, it is also available in the colors orange yellow, white or black.
The power of intelligence, a case in itself in the history of design