One of the biggest launches at this year's annual Milan Furniture Fair, for Cassina the event also marked the company's 90th birthday and a collection produced with new friends and old – pieces that traverse Cassina's career innovations and R&D, as well as more experimental future gazing into the influences shaping how we will live tomorrow.
For Patricia Urquiola, designer and art director for the Cassina brand, her new collections – the sofa systems, Floe Insel and Super Beam – explore materials and organic form to create pieces that are beautiful from all angles.
Described as a 'soft island', the Floe Insel range was developed in collaboration with the Cassina Research and Development Centre. The range is all about intricate padding, and given the complexity of the different pieces, prototypes were constructed using the latest technology 5-axis machines to achieve form and softness. Pieces include a three-seater sofa and a pouf that can be used as standalone elements, as well as end units, and a chaise-longue in two different sizes.
A development of the Beam sofa launched by Cassina last year, the Super Beam further develops the geometric beam, lifting the deeper and thicker cushions with softer padding. In true Patricia Urquiola-style, it is all about the detail. Here, the stitching around the edge of each cushion is embellished with a gathered seam, an aesthetic element created with extra leather, or fabric, to accentuate the sofa's form.
At the age of 28 with his first Compasso d’Oro award under his belt, Mario Bellini began working with Cassina. The 932 model represented a sea change for classic, padded furniture, and Bellini transformed the idea of the traditional armchair by making its padding from four independent cushions united by a distinctive belt.
Working in close collaboration with Bellini, Cassina has revised the proportions and upholstery of the MB1 Quartet armchair, while respecting the original spirit of the project. The new version epitomises the company’s expertise in leather workmanship, particularly apparent in the contrast between the exterior and the belt loops, made from soft saddle leather and natural leather.
In their first collaboration with designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, this year Cassina launched two new products by the French duo – the Cotone small dining armchair and the Baleno shelving system. Inspired by the great Cassina classics, Cotone is a collection balancing design and production, a clear aluminium structure juxtaposed with its soft down seat.
While the Baleno system is flexible and functional, and named after the vertebrae of a whale (balena in Italian), the shelves adjust and bend according to the weight applied by objects and books arranged on its surface.
Looking deep into the Cassina archives, the 699 Superleggera chair by Gio Ponti and Cassina was launched 60 years ago. A milestone in strength and lightness, according to Ponti it was also one of his three masterpieces, joining the Pirelli Tower in Milan and the Concattedrale in Taranto. Gio Ponti spent time working with Cesare Cassina, consulting with the craftsmen in the carpentry workshop to create a family of products including the 646 Leggera developed by Ponti and Cassina in the 1950s.
The Leggera collection has come to represent the emblematic elements of Cassina in Italy, and the world. With the newly updated 646 Leggera continuing this approach, it is now available in a broad range of colours and seat upholstery to suit commercial and residential applications that strengthen its universal appeal.
The Lebeau round table by Patrick Jouin was first presented in 2003. The new addition has a base made from solid wood, a total of 22 slats of bentwood ash produced and assembled in Cassina's historic carpentry workshop in the Brianza area of northern Italy. Here, the most sophisticated technology is combined with the manual skills of traditional craftsmen – a philosophy that expresses the beauty of the Cassina brand perfectly.