If one wanted to learn about the biography of Tobia Scarpa and his work, one doesn’t get around two other personalities. One the one hand is his famous father Carlo Scarpa, who cultivated numerous friendships with the most famous designers of the 20th century in his house and awakened the interest of his son, born in 1935, in architecture and design. On the other hand, his wife Afra, with whom he has collaborated since his University years in Venice and has realized numerous furniture and architectural projects until today.

Tobia Scarpa designed his first works at the age of 22. Commissioned by Venini, he created the 'Occhi' and ’Battuti' vase series, as well as some lamps, which were shown at the 1958 World Fair in Brussels. He took his inspiration from models designed by his father in the thirties and forties, viewing him as a role model rather than a competitor. In the 1980s, he created the 'I Molati' vase series with enclosed gold leaf, a variation on the 'Battuti', and in 1990 the thick-walled, turquoise-lined ’Moretta' glass objects for VeArt.

However, Tobia Scarpa didn’t build his career in the field of glass design, but in furniture design and architecture. He loves to experiment with new materials. The 'Fantasma' floor lamp for Flos, still in production today, consists of a fabric made of elastic fishing yarn stretched over a metal structure. Among his most famous works as a designer is the ’Bastiano' sofa, which he designed for Gavina in 1961. Unlike models created at the same time, it can be disassembled into individual parts and thus conforms to the changing social conventions of the sixties. There was a demand for furniture that could be taken home in handy packaging and easily be assembled. Likewise, the 'Ciprea', 'Soriana' and 'Carlotta' armchairs for the Cassina company reflect the casual lifestyle of the younger generation. Subsequently, Afra and Tobia Scarpa have worked for all the major furniture manufacturers such as B&B Italia, Knoll International and Stildomus.

In Venice and the Veneto province, they designed numerous private homes and carried out restorations on historic buildings. Among their major architectural commissions are the headquarters, production facilities and stores of the Benetton fashion company, for whose corporate design they are still responsible today. The concept of the stores, which have been instituted all over the world, is tailored to appeal to a young audience. The simple interior with numerous shelves lowers barriers and offers plenty of space to display the merchandise.

Tobia Scarpa doesn't care much for complicated theories about architecture and design. He and his wife Afra place great emphasis on craftsmanship and traditions in the design process. In 2006, Tobia Scarpa formulated their goal in a short essay about the profession of architecture: „(…) to convey to the people of tomorrow the same feelings that we have when we become aware of the effort and the skills with which the works of the past were realized."

Objects by Tobia Scarpa