Cassina’s latest collection harks back to the 1930s design genius of the likes of Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand, featuring updated versions of iconic pieces from decades past.
At the Cassina installation at Salone del Mobile in Milan this year, Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto created a floating forest designed to convey an intrinsic balance between man, nature, comfort and the home.
The forest conveys more than this, however. It conveys organic growth, a constant growing, developing and improving, which is what Cassina is all about. For 2014, the Italian design house has launched several re-editions of iconic furniture pieces from past decades, including from such masters as Charlotte Pierrand and Pierre Jeanneret whose designs were developed all those years ago by Le Corbusier. This year, Cassina has revisited designs from the Italian brand, Simon, which was founded in 1968 and which Casssina acquired recently. The result is a charmingly retro collection of masterpieces with a very contemporary feel.
OLD DOGS, NEW TRICKS
Among these re-editions comes the 8 and 9 range of lounge seating and tables, both of which bring a modern retro feel with clean lines and neutral hues. Following on from the Toot sofa designed by Piero Lissoni for Cassina in 2009, 8 is the conclusion to this palindromic proposal, with its balanced proportions and heightened comfort. The modular sofa is available in a wide range of configurations and offers extra comfort with new feather inserts in the seat, backrest and armrests.
The 9 collection of “cylindrical accessories” has been completed with a new range of high and low side tables that resemble refined dumbbells. The white Carrara marble or black Marquiña marble base balances the support for the matching marble top. Alternatively, a tray top in anthracite coloured aluminium with glass painted brick red or a coffee colour with a mirrored effect.
The classical, minimalist LC5 sofa originally designed by Le Corbusier with Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand for his own apartment in Paris in 1934, also makes an appearance this year. It was re-edited by Cassina for the first time in 1974 and this year has been redesigned again with larger proportions and new finishes.
Re-editions of the stackable Tulu chair and Pecs desk also feature in Cassina’s 2014 range. Tulu was designed in 1968 by Japanese designer Kasuhide Takahama for the brand Simon and was one of the first models created with drawn chrome plated bars. This was an important evolutionary step as it moved away from the bending of metal tubes and made it possible to tighten the curves of the structure and allowed for the frame to be produced in one single action. The chair now comes in a saddle leather finish and, in addition to the chrome frame version, in white matte or black.
The Tulu chair is accompanied by new versions of the Djuna side table, first created in 1983 also for Simon.
The Pecs desk, designed by Marcel Breuer in 1951 for Simon, was described in 1964 as “at home, a piece of furniture for writing; in the office, a desk for speaking”. The desk stands out for its formal elegance and simple geometric design based on the relationship between the volumes and proportions of the elements. The drawer handles are rectangular slots carved into each drawer.
Also re-launched this year are the Indochine swivel armchair and Mexique high and low tables. The first, originally produced in 1943 in Vietnam, is itself an adaptation in wood of the LC7 metal-framed armchair which Charlotte Perriand designed in 1927. The Mexique table was first created in 1952 for the students’ rooms of the Maison du Mexique at the Cité Universitaire Internationale in Paris. The triangular shape was conceived in order to occupy as little space as possible and to facilitate movement between the armchair, bed and desk. This kind of table was part of the en forme libre tables developed by Charlotte Perriand in 1938.
Of particular note this year is the relaunch of the Maralunga sofa on its 40th anniversary. Originally designed by Vico Magistretti in 1974, the sofa incorporated a revolutionary headrest, developed from a simple bike chain, which could be moved to give a high or low back. “My intention with Maralunga was to design an object that represented a whole range of interior architecture with a familiar feel,” said Vico at the time. “Two positions, two possible uses, two different ways to create your own personal space inside a room.”
IN WITH THE NEW
New additions to the Cassina fold this year include the Vico sofa by Spanish designer and artist Jaime Hayon. With its organic lines, the couch has been designed as a haven “which unearths our innate desire to nest, to curl up in an organic shape and relax”. Its soft, organic edges also create a design that can be appreciated from all angles, meaning it can be placed in any interior environment. “I just wanted to make something extremely comfortable, but visually very, very slim – like a lady on a catwalk,” says Jaime.
Another visually startling creation from Cassina this year is the M10 chair, which appears to defy gravity, suspended as it is from an upside-down Y-shaped frame. The chair comes in a choice of solid natural wood or stained black ash in a low-gloss finish. Its designer, Patrick Norguet, says: “Through its architecture, I wanted to create the impression of an unstable position, porte à faux.”
Photography: Courtesy of Cassina