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Why Chiavari Chairs Are The Must Have Chair


So what are the chairs that are becoming more and more popular for stylish and elegant events? By now, if you have recently been to one of these types of events, it’s incredibly likely that you have sat on a Chiavari chair.


After gaining popularity at a thoroughly rapid pace, the Chiavari chair can be found at almost all upscale weddings and events. Amazingly the chair originates from the city Chiavari in Italy hence the name. all the way back in 1807. The original idea was to create a chair which is elegant without jeopardizing its strength and durability, an objective which still remains today. The italian cabinet maker Guiseppe Gaetano Descalzi’s vision was to take an already elegant and popular chair from Paris and improve it by making it far more lightweight and at the same time increasing the weight capacity. The chair was a huge success and pretty soon after factories opened not just in Chiavari but also in the surrounding towns and began to produce this chair which was cheaper and easier to make.


But who is Guiseppe Gaetano Descalzi?  

Born in the town Chiavari in the Republic of Genoa in 1767. Nicknamed "il Campanino" meaning the bell ringer due to the fact his grandfather was the official bell-ringer of the Bacezza church. Guiseppe spent his early years as an apprentice to what was believed as one of the best carpenters in Italy. This allowed him to learn the craft and eventually become a highly skilled craftsman himself. In the late 18th century, Guiseppe and his brothers decided to open their own furniture workshop. In just one year from it’s opening he won one of the most coveted Italian awards in furniture, the silver medal from the Chiavari Società Economica for a couple of chests of drawers. These had been founded five years earlier by the Marquis Stefano Rivarola, however he added the use of a polished slab of slate as the tabletop, which managed to create a far more low-cost alternative to the usual marble top. This way of making furniture affordable to almost everyone and not just the well off, would continue in his future endeavors.


Just 7 years after opening, Guiseppe was challenged to create a new, affordable and modern chair. This was to be inspired by the current in trend chair in Paris. The aim was to design a chair to be both light and robust. Using new manufacturing methods the result far exceeded the expectations. The chair, created from cherrywood, was not only practical but simple and extremely elegant. After winning further awards in trade shows the Chiavari chair was to be purchased and used by royalty and very high profile people, and that in turn increased its popularity at a rapid pace. 

Emanuele and Giacomo sons of Giuseppe continued to make Chiavari’s among other chairs and even descendants of Giuseppe himself can be found today continuing in the industry and still producing these fantastic chairs.

You will hear various pronunciations of the word Chiavari, however don’t fret as manufacturers and suppliers have heard countless variations.

You may see them also referred to as Tiffany chairs due to their involvement in prestigious events i.e. they were used at John F Kennedy’s wedding when he married Jackie.

Due to their popularity they have also been known to be referred to as simply as wedding chairs.


Originally made from Cherrywood, the chiavari chair has evolved over many years and is now available in many different materials depending on your budget and taste.


The wooden option is certainly the most popular due to its authentic look and allows event organisers to create the perfect look that the majority of brides are now requesting and fitting in perfectly with a rustic themed event or wedding.


Becoming more and more popular are the Resin Chiavaris as they are ideal for indoor and outdoor use. With a polycarbonate resin injection mould construction they require almost no maintenance as they do not need respraying or sanding. This makes them both waterproof and resistant to fading from sunlight.


Most recently the aluminium option has become more prevalent on the market, as they are very solid and lightweight making it easier to set up and pack down from weddings and events. They also provide a very different look and being more infrequent, can be a real talking piece at an event.


Due to their many options in colours, washes and materials, these chairs have become a must have for any sophisticated venue putting on regular weddings or/and events.

 Although you have many options when planning to acquire some for your venue, the chairs can differ in price and can really depend on your budget. However, you will likely be able to find the perfect chair to create the look you require.


Perfect for storage, with some manufacturers recommending stacks of up to 10 high. Being more narrow than an average dining chair, they also allow more seating around your banqueting tables, making it possible to fit more guests in the venue.


Chiavari chairs are not limited to just prestigious events and weddings, their versatility makes them perfect for venues not just for special events but for most types of functions.

This is attributed to their relatively low price tag and practicality in ease of storage and lightweight. 


As previously stated Chiavari chairs are very versatile due to the fact that they can be used for many different types of events. All sorts of different venues and companies will have at least some stock to be able to use for particular events when needed. A lot of venues and event companies have the misconception that they are going to be a little pricey due to their use in upscale events, however this is rarely the case with the average Chiavari costing significantly less than a banquet crossback chair. 


They are perfect for weddings, corporate events and even casual types of events where you have audience seating. This gets onto why these chairs are so incredibly popular, they are completely timeless and can be transformed to create a custom look for any type of gathering. You will however find that these chairs are most often used for larger events such as weddings and posh corporate nights. 


Chiavari chairs' elegance derives from their simplicity in design.


Let's have a look at Chiavari alternatives:-


Crossback Chairs

Larger in size the crossbacks are believed to have originated in France and can be found in Parisian Cafes. Beautiful chairs that are also perfect for weddings and banqueting events. The frames are usually made from a heavy duty wood and the back and seat are designed for comfort and strength. 

The advantages to these over the Chiavari are that a lot of people will find these more comfortable due to their size, larger people will also feel slightly more secure.

The disadvantages are that they will often be a more expensive chair, with our research showing that they are usually around £8-£12 higher in price per chair than the Chiavari. Because they are larger, they will also take more space in storage and you will likely fit less in your venue.


Cheltenham Chairs

Cheltenham chairs are not too dissimilar in construction to the chiavari. The main difference between the cheltenham chair and the chiavari chair is that the frame itself is a different style. They are similarly priced and have around the same capacity and strength.

Regarding advantages and disadvantages, it’s very difficult to say as it can often come down to personal preference. For the last couple of years Chiavari sales have increased hugely and Cheltenhams have dropped slightly. This could be down to Chiavari chairs being seen in celebrity weddings and just like the fashion industry, popularity and trends can change. That being said Chiavari chairs are a bit like jeans; the variations in colour and finish can change over the years but the chair style itself seems to always be prevalent in this industry.

Although the Crossbacks and Cheltenhams remain popular, it is the Chiavari which still leads the wedding and events industry due to its fantastic look and value for money.