Portrait of Italian architect and designer Carlo Scarpa on his desk working

Carlo Scarpa

Italian designer and architect

Carlo Scarpa (born June 2, 1906, Venice, Italy–died November 28, 1978, Sendai, Japan) was an Italian designer and architect influenced by the materials, landscape, and history of Venetian culture; Japanese aesthetics; and Modernism. He turned his knowledge and interest in history, regionalism, and craftsmanship into ingenious glass and furniture designs, and his architecture reflects a deep awareness of the changes of time and the steep marks of history.

In 1919, when his father died, Scarpa enrolled in the Royal Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia, simultaneously gaining work experience in local planning offices. Despite apprenticing with architect Francesco Rinaldo, Scarpa did not officially graduate as an architect, as he refused to take the professional exam from the Italian government after World War II. As a consequence, he was forced to work with a licensed architect for all of his projects. read more

From the mid 1940s until his death in 1978, Scarpa taught drawing and interior decoration at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia. While most of his built work is located in the Veneto, he also designed landscapes, gardens, and buildings across Italy as well as in Canada, the United States, Saudi Arabia, France, and Switzerland.

Among Scarpa’s most notable architectural and designs are the Olivetti Showroom in Venice (1958), the Museo di Castelvecchio in Verona (1956–1964), the Fondazione Querini Stampalia (Venice 1961–1963), and the Brion Tomb and Sanctuary in San Vito d”Altivole (1969­–1978).

Carlo Scarpa was very interested in Japan, its culture, and, specifically, in the Japanese design sensitivity.   He first traveled to Japan in 1969, but during his second trip in 1978, he died of an accident in Sendai.

Last updated: March 22, 2019

For more information on Carlo Scarpa, please go to Biography of Scarpa at Cooper Hewitt


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