Elegant, modern Italian-made furniture has been associated with the Cassina name since 1927. Now in its 90th year, the luxury brand continues to craft contemporary classic pieces that are designed in collaboration with the world’s most revered designers.
It is constantly evolving, exploring innovative styles, materials, and techniques for the manufacturing of classic décor that reflects modern designs. “For change to exist, you have to be willing to discover the uncertain, and Cassina has always been both brave and innovative in its approach,” said managing director Gianluca Armento in a recent interview with Haute Residence.
Known for renewing and reintroducing its historic pieces, Cassina collaborated with the Le Corbusier Foundation and the heir of French architect and designer Charlotte Perriand to re-launch the Casiers Standard, a revolutionary product designed in 1925, in relation to “the organization of space that had never been explored in such a way before,” Armento explained. It’s been updated in a range of heights, modules, and finishes to produce 18 options, suited for any interior space.
Limited editions of the LC1 Pampas small armchair and LC4 Pampas chaise-longue were released with Pampas hides from South America. These pieces are intended to honor the designs and travels of Swiss-French architect and designer Le Corbusier and Perriand in Latin America.
Until recently, the 932 armchair, designed by Italian architect and designer Mario Bellini in the ’60s, was left out of the Cassina collection for many years. It was re-launched as the MB1 Quartet armchair, a more contemporary interpretation of the classic armchair, with four independently made cushions joined by a large belt.
With its 90th anniversary, Cassina released Cassina: This Will Be The Place, a monograph that explores evolving, contemporary styles of living through five uniquely designed interiors that integrate the insight and approach of influencers from various fields, not just interior design.
Armento elaborates on what to expect in the pages of the monograph, as well as how the luxury brand is reviving its name and modernizing its timeless furniture in an interview below with Haute Residence.
Haute Residence: With its 90th anniversary, the furniture brand has released Cassina: This Will Be The Place, a monograph that explores evolving, contemporary styles of living through five uniquely designed interiors furnished with pieces from Cassina. Talk about the book, what it aims to deliver, and how it celebrates dynamic designs of the last century and beyond.
Gianluca Armento: Cassina has always invested in experimentation and the exploration of ideas connected to interiors and design––it is part of the company’s DNA. The monograph is an opportunity to look towards the future involving influencers from different fields––not just interior design––who each explore their idea of how contemporary social behavior could have an impact on the future of interiors. For example, the young Chinese architect Zhao Yang talks about his approach, which sees a shift from the Western mania of building up urban centers, to a return to nature as a response to the uprooting of traditions in a society, where he feels identity has been lost. In the second part of the book, Cassina has identified five different themes that have been interpreted in five interior concepts. “Back to the Roots” features the furniture from our collections.
HR: How have interior designs by Cassina evolved over the past 90 years, as well as continued to reflect the brand’s original concept of producing modern classics?
GA: For change to exist, you have to be willing to discover the uncertain, and Cassina has always been both brave and innovative in its approach. Since the 1950s, the company has been exploring new production techniques, materials, and styles to create innovative products that cater for the living requirements specific to that time.
The concept of re-editing modern classics was born with the Le Corbusier, Jeanneret, and Perriand pieces in 1964, evolving over the years into the Cassina I Maestri Collection, with iconic classics by the great architects of the Modern Movement. The pieces, unknown at the time, were serially produced for the first time and distributed on an international level by Cassina, making them the well-known icons that they have become today. These projects have such value and content that they are subject to constant improvement to best meet today’s requirements. We are always looking for ways to modernize and develop classic projects, working in close collaboration with the official foundations and heirs of the architects to adapt to a constantly changing world.
HR: Talk about how historic brand pieces––including the LC1 Pampas small armchair, LC4 Pampas chaise-longue, and the Casiers Standard––have been renewed with updated, more modern details, as well as preserved in their classic designs.
GA: The designs of these iconic pieces have withstood the test of time and are still great masterpieces of modernism today. To highlight the works and travels of Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand in Latin America, we have introduced limited editions of the LC4 chaise-lounge and the LC1 small armchair with Pampas hides from South America. Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand both had a strong connection with the local South American artistic and cultural circles, so this was a way to pay homage. The Casiers Standard project was revolutionary at the time of its design in 1925, an idea regarding the organization of space that had never been explored in such a way before. Working together with the Le Corbusier Foundation and the heir of Charlotte Perriand, the piece has been re-launched in a range of heights, modules, and finishes to create a total of 18 options suited to all environments of the home, including the kitchen and office
HR: The 932 armchair by Mario Bellini from the ’60s has been out of the Cassina collection for years. Why was this particular piece chosen to be revived with new elements and modifications?
GA: Mario Bellini has been working with Cassina for over 50 years. This year, to mark the occasion, we will gather his projects together in the MB Collection. The 932 model, re-launched today as the MB1 Quartet armchair, particularly transformed the idea of the traditional armchair by making its four independently produced cushions, joined together by a large belt, the piece’s actual structure. MB1 Quartet has a particularly contemporary feel to it―it really could have been designed today!
HR: Before her death in March 2016, architect Zaha Hadid collaborated with Cassina on the ZH One armchair, a piece that will continually strengthen her legacy. Describe how the armchair blends the architect’s striking, bold designs with Cassina’s classic contemporary style.
GA: We are honored to have had the opportunity to collaborate with Zaha Hadid, such an important and ingenious creator. Her futuristic style is unmistakable in the lines of the ZH One, a unique reworking of the cube armchair. The design is a perfect blend of her aesthetic and our continued commitment to exploring new shapes, finishes, and colors that can dialogue with the modern home.
HR: Are there any upcoming designer collaborations in the works? What does the future have in store for the Cassina brand?
GA: We have a number of new projects coming up for Cassina. This year, for the 2017 collection, we have further strengthened our collaboration with Konstantin Grcic with the Soft Props sofa, and we have a brand-new collaboration with Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec that we are very enthusiastic about.
Images courtesy of Cassina
This story is featured in the Summer/Fall 2017 issue of Haute Residence magazine.