In 2017, Cassina will be celebrating its 90th anniversary: an opportunity to reflect on the company history and to look to the future, without losing sight of its origins.
For its 90th anniversary Cassina presents the monograph “This Will Be The Place”, edited by Felix Burrichter (editor, creative director, and founder of PIN–UP magazine in New York) and published by Rizzoli.In 1977, Cassina commissioned Mario Bellini to create the ‘The Book of Interiors’, an abacus of products differentiated by function and material studied for Cassina with hypothetical suggestions on how to best furnish the contemporary home. This first approach to interiors was the starting point for Cassina’s on-going project.
Forty years later Cassina has commissioned a study on how an evolving society could influence the future of interiors: the result is the 352-page monograph ‘This Will Be The Place’.This pioneering book is divided in two sections: theoretical and photographic.
In the first part, five figures from the worlds of architecture and design share their thoughts about how anthropological and sociological aspects of life could change our living habits.
The second part of the book takes a defiantly visual approach and converts the ideas discovered in the interviews into five photographic scenarios featuring Cassina furniture in possible home environments.
"This Will Be The Place" is now available worldwide at Cassina stores and through Rizzoli network.
For the home of the future the Berlin-based minimalist architect Arno Brandlhuber predicts a flexible use of space, a blurring of boundaries, between public and private, inside and out. Brandlhuber believes that changing demographics will require more fluidity in home planning, where the walls between preconceived spatial and societal configurations must be broken down, both literally and figuratively. Converting the house into a sort of micro-city.
The interiors for this section have been photographed at the Balint House by Fran Silvestre Arquitectos in Valencia, one of the subjects of Cassina’s ‘The Other Conversation’ ADV campaign.
In his speculative and slightly sardonic essay How we Live Tomorrow, Berlin-based Finnish architect, artist and musician Martti Kalliala imagines domestic scenarios where remote-controlled robots reign supreme over spotlessly antiseptic and empty show homes, or where agile centenarians maintain their prowess thanks to play-dens that stimulate physical activity. Yet the result of today’s hyper-accelerated urbanisation and life’s total permeation through digital technology might also cause a rebound and take the form of a return to nature.
The interiors of this section were photographed at the 19th Century Villa Erba in Cernobbio, Italy.
Designer Konstantin Grcic underlines the necessity to confront current reality in order to look towards the future. He believes that design is always earthed in some form of contemporary context. Seeking out evidence of possible disruptions is where an opportunity for change is likely to be found.
Disruption is an important concept that returns in the second part of the book. A hybrid space should challenge its user while, in parallel, create comfort. In environments where life expectancy continues to increase, we will have to find domestic solutions that will keep us alert and fit.
As a response to the uprooting of traditions in a society where identity has been lost due to the concretization of urban centres, the young Chinese architect Zhao Yang focuses on the rediscovery of rural vernacular, promoting a return to nature. He contends that only by respecting tradition and a sense of place can we ensure ourselves a viable future. However he is not nostalgic in his approach, to think about the future one must have a keen understanding of the past.
The interiors included in the second part of the book have been photographed in the natural light of a house designed by Arno Brandlhuber in Scopello, Sicily.
The architectural historian and Princeton University professor Beatriz Colomina states that the modern human’s identity has for the most part been reduced to the content of one’s smartphone, a device via which almost all social and professional interaction can be carried out. As a result, the 21st Century will be that of the bed: thanks to laptops, tablet computers, and smartphones, we can all run our entire lives horizontally from between the sheets - public and private, work and play, and sleeping and waking all become concentrated in one spot.
Cassina 9.0: an installation to mark the brand's 90th anniversary. Ninety years. A landmark anniversary celebrated as part of the 2017 Fuorisalone with a manifesto for the future: Cassina 9.0. Designed by Patricia Urquiola, the installation is a playful exploration that references progress and evolution, like computer language, as a necessary resource to reinterpret the company’s historical legacy. It is a free interpretation of the monograph “This Will Be The Place”, presented by Cassina during this event.
In a reaffirmation of the forward thinking and pioneering spirit of the brand, Cassina confirms its strong desire to connect the company’s past and present with a vision projected towards the future.
A site-specific project. Cassina 9.0 has been developed in a new landmark for Milan, the Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli. This venue was specifically chosen for its intellectual, cultural and creative commitment to the city in terms of research into ideas and solutions aimed at building possible futures. Curated by Patricia Urquiola, the project is a site-specific installation that creates a dialogue with the space, respecting the building's architecture and the research conducted by the Foundation into the transformation of urban spaces and the dimensions of their inhabitants.
Disruption: interaction and experimentation. The journey begins on the first floor with a gest that divides the space following the diagonal shape of the building. This disruption wall is used to express how disruption, as designer Konstantin Grcic explains in the book “This Will Be The Place", is an opportunity to instigate change.
In the first part of the installation, characterised by the colour pink, virtual reality is embedded into real life. Within recognisable domestic environments, the visitor can relate to the Cassina products through unexpected interactive, engaging and ironic experiences that transform and change. The presence of works from the Cassina Archives emphasises the concept of the past as a foundation upon which to build the future.
A parallel reality. Green marks the entrance into another reality. In this area, the recreation of La Barca, the great sofa-island designed by Piero De Martini (1975), invites the visitor to share in an environment where everyone can blend in comfortably. This incorporates the concept of Free Flow, a fluid and limitless space expressed in the book by German architect Arno Brandlhuber. From here we enter the chroma key room, via which the visitor moves into a virtual dimension, immersed in the collages created for the book by artist Martti Kalliala. This leads us into a surreal dimension, playful like a Playground.
Understanding the past to look towards the future. Ascending to the highest point of the building, it is possible to visit the futuristic Refuge Tonneau which stands above the city like a lighthouse. Cassina faithfully reconstructed this portable mountain refuge, designed by Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret in 1938, to express the cultural values of the Modern architects. In this context, Refuge Tonneau is a symbol of the theme Back To The Roots, a manifesto for a return to nature, presented in the book by the young Chinese architect Zhao Yang as a response to urban densification.
A system to help us relate to our surrounding environment. During the day, visitors can use the new Soft Props sofa, designed by Konstantin Grcic for the 2017 Collection, in the Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli reading room.
After 7pm, the space is transformed to welcome new activities: the distinction between public and private spaces vanish and movement condenses around the horizontal surfaces of the sofas. This is the Bed Time concept, as the architectural historian Beatriz Colomina explains in her interview: the 21st century will be the century of the bed, and thanks to technology we will be able to conduct so much more of our life from a horizontal position.
Horizontal Freedom, a performance to narrate the past in a contemporary tone. In the reading room on Wednesday and Thursday, a group of theatre actors meet with the visitor, engaging them in a performance that aims to bring the past closer to Cassina’s future.
The piece is inspired by the Kar-a-sutra project, the first prototype of a people carrier designed by Mario Bellini in 1972 with Dario Bellini, Francesco Binfaré and Gianfranco Origlia, and coordinated from the Cassina Research Centre in collaboration with C&B Italia, Citroën and Pirelli. Exhibited at MOMA as part of the New Domestic Landscape display, this innovative project responds to the user's need for maximum freedom and habitability in their living spaces, along with organised interiors to facilitate communication between passengers.
The performance will be projected on the same floor during the other times of the week.
MutAzioni is a reflection on the company's history. It is an opportunity to cast a contemporary eye on 9 design icons that represent 90 years of history. 9 models that over the decades have become synonymous with contemporary design but, at the same time, have never been updated or transformed with the attitude of continuous improvement adopted by Cassina. By rediscovering and reinforcing the identity of these products, MutAzioni underlines the continuous need to adapt to the evolving world in which we live. Here are the first models.
Investment in the local territory to improve and develop the brand’s headquarters. Cassina celebrates its 90th anniversary with its employees with a renovation project of the historical headquarters in Meda by architect Patricia Urquiola.
The Brianza area has always been an important centre for furniture production, sales and management of the Cassina brand, mainly due to the fact that this long established furniture area offers interesting potentiality for growth and development thanks to the specific competences which are rooted here.
Patricia Urquiola, Cassina Art Director, wanted to give value to the industrial character of the site, inaugurated at the beginning of the 1940s, restoring the entrance courtyard, creating a representative welcome area and developing new communal areas.
The objective was to allow the true essence of the headquarters to transpire bringing it back to life in its purest form.
Stylistic details and the use of colour particularly characterise the project, for example, with the use of perforated aluminium panels to create new forms and a contemporary air.
The Refuge Tonneau: a true masterpiece that unites functionality and beauty in a minimal space. Cassina’s DNA is characterised by the cultural diffusion of the works by the architects and designers of its collections. In the company’s refreshments area the Refuge Tonneau has been installed, this is the only authentic reproduction ever to be produced of this futuristic mobile shelter designed by Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret in 1938.
Created to scale by Cassina in 2012 thanks to the study of original sketches and documents, the project has enabled people to discover a visionary structure that would have otherwise remained unknown.
Now, the Cassina employees can enter the Refuge Tonneau to enjoy a coffee during their break.
Inside Charlotte Perriand, a great lover of the mountains, foresaw a place for everything, facilitating the gestures that create a bond between man and furniture in confined spaces.
The history of the carpentry workshop portrayed in the images of renowned photographer Armin Linke. The new “Galleria” area of the HQ in Meda has been inaugurated with a photographic exhibit by Armin Linke focused on the works of the Cassina carpentry workshop accompanied by archive pieces of the Superleggera chair and works developed together with Gio Ponti. The exhibition, open to employees, clients and visitors, will be the first of a series of exhibits to highlight and give value to the company’s heritage and MedaMade know-how.
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