Vintage brutalist Italian hand carved wooden and glass dining table by Nerone, (Giovanni Ceccarelli), co-founder of Gruppo NP2, Nerone & Patuzzi. Supplied with certificate of authentication notarised by Saar Ceccarelli, Archivio Nerone Giovanni Ceccarelli.
This rare and important dining table, (confirmed by Archivio NGP as unique), was designed by Nerone Ceccarelli, born Giovanni Ceccarelli (1937-1996), an Italian artist and sculptor. His work is characterised by an abstract geometric vocabulary where he integrated simple forms with carved panels and structures in metal and wood. He received the nickname Nerone (derived from the Roman emperor Nero) after he had set fire to a wooden shed near his school. His curiosity and love for playing with fire would remain part of his artistry with many of his wooden sculptures having partly burnt surfaces - as in this unique pair of sculptures where the wood's surface was burnt, (pyrographed) then hand finished to harmonise the texture and balance; and finally treated with coloured waxes to create a deep lustre. Worn and distressed with time, this set has therefore been meticulously and sympathetically restored to reflect the nature of the original.
Nerone was instrumental in bringing true Italian craftsmanship and experimentation to the fore with the formation of the NP2 group in Turin in 1962. Together with his friend Giancarlo Patuzzi, (NP2, initials of Nerone and Patuzzi) they generated an enviable body of work and collaborated with numerous well-known artists and designers of the time including Emilio Vedova and Marcel Breuer. The two young artists first met while still students at the Venice Fine Arts Academy (Accademia di Belle Arti) and met again in Turin in 1959 where they began their successful partnership. Their work was based on the idea of freeing art from museums and galleries to make it accessible to a wider audience by the integration of different creative media such as architecture, painting, sculpture and design.
The studio in Borgaro Torinese, where the two worked, turned into a hotbed of experimentation, open to collaboration with other artists and craftsmen, including Jolanda Novi, Luigi Marchisotti, Dedalo Montali, Lucia Petrocchi, Virgilio Petrocchi, Raoul Portal, Piercarlo Iorio, Evian Medici, Luciano Patetta, Nicoletta Medici, Carlo Mollino and Angelo Cortesi. Their product ranges were vast and varied: they created and built monumental sculptures, furniture, fittings and panels, with techniques ranging from metalworking and woodworking to working in concrete and marble engraving, all the while demonstrating original creativity combined with great technical ability.
History is, however, littered with extraordinarily gifted artist and designers who never get the recognition they deserve, and so the pair were fortunate to have a talented promoter in their midst. Piercarlo Ceccarelli, Nerone’s younger brother, joined the company in 1964 and although he was at the start of his management career he demonstrated a tremendous sense of foresight and commitment. Piercarlo dealt with the administrative and commercial aspects of the company and his contribution proved vital to the success, and recognition, of the work produced by the Group. Through architecture and design exhibitions he managed to create a tight network of contacts that included architects, showrooms and art and design galleries, which he initially developed in the United States and later in Europe. Orders soon started to come in, from both public and private sectors and NP2 went from one contract to another and worked on some of the most prestigious projects of the time.
By the end of the 1960s their hard work had paid off; they had received many major awards and were revered by their peers, but as in many partnerships the time came for them to develop their own personalities. On this basis, although they still collaborated on the works of art that bore the NP2 branding (and until 1974), they began to differentiate their creations and each worked on projects under their own names – and so it is with this table that bears Nerone’s sole signature engraved into the copper top plate and is supplied with the original certificate of authentication notarised by Saar Ceccarelli, Archivio Nerone Giovanni Ceccarelli.
It’s first and foremost a work of art - and that happens to hold a table top… This style of design is often described as ‘brutalist’ because of apparent raw and unrefined nature of the aesthetic. But of course nothing could be further from the truth; it’s a carefully orchestrated piece that exhibits a high degree of detail and balance. The two pedestals has been constructed from multiple hand carved pieces of wood that have then been united together to create opposing geometrical shapes. It’s believed the pair represent the male and female form and this is evident in the size and shape of each section and the combined harmony of the piece.
As previously mentioned, both pedestals have been sympathetically restored so as to recapture the depth of finish of the original, but also to still maintain much of the patina and age inherent in the structure and wear of the wood. The thick glass top has light marks and scratches to the surface as you would expect, but has no chips out of the edge. The glass is sized to seat 6-8 people but, given that it just free floats on the two pedestals, and given the size of each pedestal, you could replace it with a larger top if required.
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Brutalist hand carved Nerone Giovanni Ceccarelli dining table NP2
Walnut, Copper and Glass
Brutalist, Mid Century
Date of the original design
Date of production
Overall table with glass: H71.5 X W200 X D 95cm
Pedestal 1: H70 x W75 x D73cm
Pedestal 2: H70 x W55 x D35cm
Number of pieces included in price
All pieces as shown: pedestals x 2 plus glass
Very good condition - refinished
Do you have questions or would like to discuss this table further? Please contact me via the contact page HERE. I'm always happy to help.