Cassina acquires the historic brand Simon: confirming its role as representative of the best of Italian made design

Meda, 26th September 2013. Cassina has acquired the Simon brand from the Estel group, an encouraging sign for the Italian manufacturing industry, which remains one of the country’s most important assets. Cassina’s decision was inspired by the iconic collection which brings together and represents the key moments in furniture design.
The acquisition broadens Cassina’s product portfolio with high-profile names such as Carlo Scarpa, Marcel Breuer and Kazuhide Takahama, with particular emphasis on product ranges that are less represented in the current collection (tables, containers, chairs and office furniture).

A history of industrial design: companies united by an experimental approach and the expression of a new relationship between culture and production.
A pioneer for industrial design in Italy in the 1950’s, Cassina nurtured the transition from artisanal to serial production, carrying out on-going research into materials and technologies and promoting culture through its activities.
Dino Gavina already one of the spearheads of industrial design, shared completely this approach in the production of his own products, carrying out research in order to identify the best and most innovative solutions.
The figure of Le Corbusier is highly symbolic of the common ground shared by these two pioneering entrepreneurs. In 1962 Gavina decided to produce Breuer’s furniture designs through his company Gavina SpA, becoming the first to reedit archive models. In 1964 Heidi Weber, who owned the reproduction rights of Le Corbusier’s furniture designs, met with Gavina, who subsequently referred her to Cesare Cassina for the production of the first four models by this great architect. This jointly pursued concept of reediting design was the first display of the importance assigned to the relationship between culture and production and lay the foundations for the meaning of the Maestri collection of great architects that Cassina later developed from the 1970’s together with Professor Filippo Alison.
Two brands, originators of the Italian design industry, which have much in common, from the focus on experimentation and innovation and the guarantees offered in terms of high quality materials and work processes, to the expression of new languages and the promotion of cultural values.
In those years of great ferment, Cassina and Gavina lay the foundations for the great tradition of Italian design also through the founding of other industrial businesses such as Flos in the lighting sector.

Cassina and Simon: the roots of Italian design.
Simon was founded in 1968 following a meeting between Dino Gavina and Maria Simoncini and a number of important representatives from the world of architecture and modern art such as Enzo Mari, Man Ray, Carlo and Tobia Scarpa and Kazuhide Takahama. This new business adventure was fuelled by their cultural and production experiences that resulted in a cult and ever-contemporary collection for lovers of design.
While Gavina was attentive to the most advanced research being carried out in the design field and by its protagonists, he was at the same time receptive to the impulses of artistic creativity. The products of Carlo Scarpa, a key figure in this industrial operation, identify the Simon collection in particular. The Doge table project soon became an icon of the company thanks to its figurative strength and ability to impose itself as a genuine piece of architecture. Another important expression of the company’s philosophy is the Bramante cupboard by Kazuhide Takahama, which introduced the ancient technique of lacquering to industrial production, associating the project with great traditional values. At the same time the connection with the art world resulted in a series of objects such as the Les Grand trans-Parents mirror by Man Ray, which introduced functional works of art to furniture design, combining art with a day-to-day use in a surprising new way.
The 1=2 glass table by Jean Nouvel, from the brad Zeritalia acquired at the same time as Simon, also stands out for its simple linearity and minimalism.
Over its 85 years of history Cassina has always sought to establish partnerships with the most representative contemporary architects, designers and experts. The result is a broad and authentic collection that brings together the great architects of the 20th century with renowned Italian and international names from the world of architecture and design.

An Italian-made collection.
As of September 2013, the Simon products will be brought together within the Cassina I Contemporanei Collection. The production, today carried out by certified Italian third parties, will remain unchanged and will continue to be subject to meticulous quality controls in all phases of production.