The model for this chair was designed by Carlo Bugatti for one of the decorated pieces he presented at the first International Exhibition for Modern Decorative Arts in Turin, in 1902. This "games and conversation room" reproduced a snail shell on a human scale. Soon nicknamed "Camera a chiocciola" (Snail Room), as much a meditation on the theme of the spiral as a variation on the animal's morphology, this "installation" marked the high point of Carlo Bugatti's furniture design.
To enhance the curves, Carlo Bugatti decided to cover these new forms with one continuous, satin-smooth piece of vellum, perfectly attached to the wooden structure. This layer was illuminated further with a light decoration of delicate, red and gold insects.
Having "provoked, within the jury as well as the public, the liveliest discussions […] and the most heated debates", Carlo Bugatti was awarded the Diploma of Honour, the highest reward, for having managed to be "the first person in Italy to create, and not just dream of a modern style of furniture.
Wood covered with parchment, paint and golden highlights, stamped copper
H. 97; W. 37.2; D. 53 cm
©ADAGP - RMN (Musée d'Orsay), Hervé Lewandowski