| CASSINA / MILAN INTERNATIONAL FURNITURE FAIR 2007
Cassina works industrially in the contemporary furnishing sector. It produces chairs, tables, armchairs, beds, and furniture in general with a particular flair for upholstered items and work in wood, leather and other top-quality materials.
The "Amedeo Cassina" firm first saw the light of day officially at Meda (Milano) in 1927, on the initiative of the brothers Cesare and Umberto Cassina. The name was modified in 1935 to "Figli di Amedeo Cassina".
At the outset practically the entire outputs was made up of small pieces of wooden furniture - small work-tables and living-room tables - being later extended to include armchairs and drawing-room furniture. The first Cassina furniture was eclectic in inspiration, but the melange of styles soon gave way to the generic middle-of-the-road 20th century style. These were years of great crisis and it was thanks to this amplification of activity that the young firm was able to keep its head above water and not succumb to the difficulties that beset the sector and the economy of the entire state. The furniture that Cassina produced was for the most part fitted; it was often made for specific destinations and sometimes resulted in small serial production runs.
To produce its furniture, Cassina has entrusted the intelligence, the hopes, the fears, and the genius of the most famous architects and designers of the 20th century; it is a courage and a challenge from which excellent results have derived. Gathered together under the Cassina label are to be found the formal research if Gio Ponti, the provocative irony of the radical design of Paolo Deganello and Archizoom, Gaetano Pesce's original research, the indisputable brilliance of Vico Magistretti in his interpretations of everyday articles of furniture, the theoretical tenacity of Mario Bellini, the formal elegance of Piero Lissoni and the ability of Philippe Starck in redefining different types of furniture. But there we find also Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, Frank Lloyd Wright, Gerrit Thomas Rietveld and Erik Gunnar.
Over the years, Cassina has defined a new industrial model, with the ability to meld very diverse personalities and imbue them with the same project logic from which derive articles that form part of the same order. This is an order that springs from research into quality, continual checks on materials, techniques and execution, from research into diversity up to the point of inventing new types of furniture that impinge on the behaviour and life-style of the user.
This year, the Milan International Furniture Fair features more fruit of Philippe Starck's design for Cassina; maximum liberty in the definition of the concept and great comprehension and mutual understanding in the realisation of the product. It is a happy working relationship resulting in a surprising collection, a classical line enlivened by a provocative wit.
Dignified and formal in a reception context, the Privé Collection becomes the ideal territory for transgression in the private and intimate confines of the home. Living and sleeping blend together, sitting room and boudoir, in this collection that comprises chairs and sofas - Privé sofa -, and ottomans.
It is no mere coincidence that the Privé Collection make its appearance in black and white only, thereby underlining its dual spirits, the day-time angel and the night-time devil.
The starting point of the collection features the couple made up of chair and armchair: Caprice and Passion. Remembering the teaching of Jean-Michel Frank, Pierre Chareau, Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann, Philippe Starck has designed two compact wrap-around seats, two shells with sinuous profiles, welcoming and protective, whose clean-cut lines are to be topped with a gorgeous quilted cover, a mosaic of leather or fabric which seems to become an elegant and sophisticated gown.
Despite the great variety of components, the collection is made up of just a few constructive elements. They are in chromed tubular steel, joined up with just three blending junction pieces. All the seating surfaces are done in soft quilted leather or fabric.
The details are exquisitely designed from the corner joint to the insertions that scan the rhythm of the metal structure, from the details of the cushions that call to mind the finest saddlery, to the elastic support pieces.
For the occasion, Cassina decided to supplement the usual press material with a limited and numbered edition of an album of photographs by Jean Baptiste Mondino. Interpreting a scenario created by Philippe Starck himself, the French photographer's lens seems to spy indiscreetly on the most intimate life of the collection. It's a different view, seeing the objects as living characters that play a part in the life of those who use them.
In this his first design work for Cassina, Rodolfo Dordoni has come up with a collection of extraordinary lightness and constructional know-how, authentic structural cabinet-making joinery and taut leather surfaces. This is a project that inevitably calls up not only a comparison with the great legacy of Gio Ponti, but also the teaching of Franco Albini.
In designing Pilotta, chair, full-size and small armchairs, and ottomans, Dordoni stays clear of working on elementary geometrical lines or the essential nature of a conceptual approach. His path is rather the modelling of the outlines, the study of the joints and structural cross-winds as the occasion to create a real and proper shape-and-form grammar with constructional technology. Wholehearted simplicity that redeems the force of the triangle and diagonal elements.
Light but never spindly, Rodolfo Dordoni's designs call to mind the serene self-possession of the bourgeois home, not the need for surprises one after the other but rather the solid quality of the articles. Seats and backs that provide solid support without skimping on the comfort, solidity without excessive bulk, wood and leather.
This is particularly evident in the design of the Boboli tables, by Rodolfo Dordoni, rigorously geometrical and imaginative in their structure. The table-tops are clean-cut and uncluttered but what comes as a surprise is the support feature, either the central pedestal or the trestle version, both done as a metal cage, but not closed in by rigid bars but by festoons of aluminium folded with a slight twist on the vertical axis.
All the taste of the Viennese Secession is there in a design of surprising happiness, done with reflexes, transparency and opacity.
via Busnelli, 1
20036 Meda (Mi) Italy
Tel. +39 0362372.1
Fax +39 0362342246