Countdown C90: the first 5 MutAzioni projects revealed at imm cologne 2016 in a home environment designed by Patricia Urquiola

C90: looking towards the future without losing sight of the company’s origins
MutAzioni (Mutations), the first step of the extensive C90 programme to celebrate Cassina’s 90th anniversary in 2017, is a reflection on the brand’s history and an opportunity to cast a contemporary eye on 9 design icons taken from 90 years of history.
In this voyage of knowledge, discovery and development, the first 5 projects are presented at imm cologne 2016: the Met club armchair and chaise-longue elements by Piero Lissoni, the Black Red and Blue chair and the Utrecht armchair in various editions by Gerrit T. Rietveld, the Doge table by Carlo Scarpa (Cassina SimonCollezione) and the Wink chaise-longue by Kita Toshiyuki.
It was not an easy task to choose from the many icons that have marked the evolution of Cassina and contemporary design in general for the MutAzioni project. The selection focuses on models that over the decades have become synonymous with contemporary design but at the same time have never been revised or transformed with the attitude of continuous improvement adopted by Cassina to keep its projects actual and fresh.
By rediscovering and reinforcing the identity of these models, MutAzioni underlines the continuous need to adapt to the evolving environment in which we live.
The next icons will be revealed during 2016.

The Rietveld Pavilion inspires Patricia Urquiola for the Cassina stand at imm cologne 2016
Cassina has always been a source of fascination for Patricia Urquiola, newly appointed Art Director of Cassina and curator of the C90 programme. This can be immediately perceived in Cassina’s stand design which takes inspiration from the Rietveld Pavilion, a temporary structure constructed in 1955 in Arnhem, Holland, to display sculptures, and later reconstructed in the Kröller-Müller Museum’s sculpture garden.
Various elements from this structure have been transferred to the Cassina stand thanks to the meticulous research carried out by Patricia Urquiola. The graphic rhythm and separation of structural elements, recurrent themes in Rietveld’s work, is highlighted in the juxtaposition of the ceiling’s white painted beams and the supporting cement columns painted black. Light, also an important element for the designer, naturally filters from above and through the transparencies of the walls which alternate with larger cement blocks.
Inside the structure an inviting home environment has been recreated with the first 5 MutAzioni projects mixed together with pieces from the 2015 Collection and Cassina classics, many featured in the new fabric collections.

The Black Red and Blue (Zeilmaker version) born from Rietveld’s chromatic experimentation
While researching the origins of the Red and Blue model in collaboration with the Rietveld heirs, it emerged that the key idea of the first prototypes was based on the concept of spatial organisation expressed through the monochrome tones of its elements. The first version was in fact produced in 1918 in completely unpainted wood.
In the following years Rietveld proposed various examples, either monochrome or painted in different colours, depending on the requirements of his customers and the interiors for which the chairs were intended. As such, it comes as no surprise to find this 1920s version, presented as part of Cassina’s MutAzioni selection, created for the school teacher Wicher Zeilmaker with a black frame with white ends and a dark green painted seat and backrest.
It was Rietveld’s ever-increasing involvement in the De Stijl movement that led him to also use primary colours on this model in 1923, and as such the chair became a veritable manifesto for the emerging neoplastic movement. Initially dubbed Slat chair, Rietveld only gave it the name Red and Blue in the 1950s following its chromatic evolution.
The various owners of the different examples used the chair as an abstract-realist sculpture in their interiors and, in some cases, as a simple tool for sitting on, adding cushions to make it more comfortable, just like Cassina offers for the Black Red and Blue today.

The Utrecht armchair expands its options
The separation of structural elements and the study of new materials and shapes can also be identified in the Utrecht armchair produced exclusively by Cassina since 1988.
Initially designed in 1935 for the Metz&co department store for widespread distribution, this piece represents the Rietveld’s decision to adopt a more ‘market-oriented’ approach to comfort and relaxation.
As part of the MutAzioni project, Cassina continues in this direction, responding to the growing need to satisfy individual preferences and customised projects, by introducing an additional zig-zag stitch, five new colour options for the thread, and a wide range of contemporary fabrics.
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wo new sizes have also been introduced: the Utrecht XL armchair, an anthropometric response to the increasing proportions of today’s generations, and the Baby Utrecht, a 30% smaller version ergonomically adapted for 3 to 8 years olds as a tribute to the numerous projects Rietveld dedicated to children.

New metallic and marble finishes for the Doge masterpiece
The Doge table, designed by Carlo Scarpa, became part of the Cassina SimonCollezione following the acquisition of the historical Simon company in 2013.
Simon actually started its production in 1968 with this particular masterpiece, one of the cornerstones of the ‘Ultrarazionale’ movement established with the aim of overcoming the strict limits of rationalism.
As part of Cassina’s MutAzioni project, the table’s frame is now available in a range of new finishes alongside the original steel version: polished aluminium, polished gunmetal, polished copper and matte red. Two new table-tops in white Carrara marble and black Marquiña marble have also been added alongside the existing float-glass top which recall the first model’s top with a marble insert which Scarpa made for the house of a Swiss customer.

Wink, ironic solutions for colourful living
An icon of the eighties, the Wink chaise-longue with adjustable positions by Toshiyuki Kita was truly innovative in its approach to the new trends of a generation with a changing attitude to living. Still today a symbol of an informal and ‘colourful’ lifestyle, this model has been updated to adapt to today’s tastes with a wide range of contemporary fabrics and colour combinations for both the internal and external parts, including its ironic Mickey Mouse ears, confirming more than 35 years later the project’s playful and hedonistic spirit.

Simplicity is back with new Met seating
The Met sofa by Piero Lissoni strongly defined the landscape of the 1990s, a decade characterised by a ‘return to order’ after years of unconventional and strongly characterised products. The pure and simple form of the piece focuses on the quality of life and living. “A range of sofas designed to be assembled freely in their environment, always resulting in impeccable elegance", announced the advertisement.
Respecting this theme of continuity, the MutAzioni project sees the introduction of a new range of elements, a club armchair and a right or left chaise-longue to be combined with the sofa, as well as new feet finishes, offering combinations for today’s living necessities.

 

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