At the age of sixteen Guiseppe Gaetano Descalzi, also called Il Companino (eng. The bell-ringer) since his grandfather was a bell-ringer at the Becezza chuch, began working as a carpenter in the workshop of Felice Monteverde in his hometown of Chiavari. Four years later he started working as cooper and carpenter for his father.
In 1795 Descalzi opened his own furniture workshop in Chiavari together with his brothers. One year later he was awarded a silver medal for two chests of drawers by the Società Economica di Chiavari.
Descalzi began designing chairs made of cherry with curved ladder-backs, turned tapered legs and a woven willows seat in 1807. They soon became known as the Chiavari (or Campanino) chairs, and in 1825 Descalzi was appointed to produce the Chiavari chairs for the house of Savoy (Italian royal dynasty). Due to its success, Descalzi opened several factories in Chiavari and surrounding towns.
In 1829 and -32 Descalzi received two medals for the first and second triennials in Turin for his Chiavari chairs. After his death in 1855, Descalzi’s sons Giacomo and Emanuele continued the production of Chiavari chairs, appointing around 600 workers to do so.
When Gio Ponti in the early 1950’s worked on his Superleggera chair, he visited Chiavari and took inspiration from Decalzi’s design.