A family-run artisan workshop founded by Domenico Potocco in the early 20th century, Accademia has its roots in a region known as Italy's 'kingdom of the chair'. The history of chair-making in Italy is found in the province of Udine – the towns of Manzano, San Giovanni al Natisone and Corno di Rosazzo – with roots traced back to the Middle Ages. From the 15th to 18th centuries, the influence of the Republic of Venice was important in establishing the craft tradition, attracting carpenters and wood-carvers who copied the fashionable chairs found in Venice. By the beginning of the 20th century over one million chairs were produced each year but the real growth began in the 1950s when Udine's ancient artisan traditions were transformed by industrialisation. It was also during this time that strategic factors such as image and design took hold and architects including Giò Ponti, Carlo De Carli and Vico Magistretti were brought to the fore.
Today, in an area of just over 100 square kilometre, the province of Udine is home to more than 1,200 furniture groups, 15,000 designers and craftspeople, and exports nearly 2 billion euros of furniture every year.
Based in Manzano, the Potocco group is one of the province's specialist furniture houses built on timber craftsmanship. In 1989 the group launched Accademia to develop their interest in design, research and technology. Featuring both indoor and outdoor furniture in the collection, this is where Potocco works with metals, resins, upholstery and laminates, and collaborates with designers including Hannes Wettstein, Karim Rashid, This Weber, Ellen Bernhardt and Enrico Franzolini.
Highlights from the Accademia range include the Vela collection by Hannes Wettstein, the Scarlet Chair by This Weber and the Pelote extendable table by design duo Carmen Cheong and Moritz Engelbrecht of Lemongrass, and the Kaori Wood chair by Enrico Franzolini.