21. 02. 2017
The 699 Superleggera by Gio Ponti and Cassina. Still in production, without interruption, since 60 years ago.
An authentic masterpiece by Cassina and Ponti.
Gio Ponti regarded the Superleggera chair as one of his three masterpieces (together with the Pirelli Tower in Milan and the Concattedrale of Taranto). It represents a symbol of perfection and balance between solidity and lightness, with a triangular section of just 18 millimetres and a minimum weight of 1,700 grams.
Created by Gio Ponti in collaboration with I Figli di Amedeo Cassina (Amedeo Cassina & Sons) the chair is the result of the architect’s research and the experimental and creative expertise of the company’s talented craftsmen. The Superleggera is in fact the culmination of the creative development carried out to form a family of chairs that includes renowned models by Cassina such as the well-known Leggera chair.
Cassina and Ponti, the origins of Italian design.
Cassina’s activities in the 1950’s were closely related to Gio Ponti who worked in the company in close collaboration with Cesare Cassina from approximately 1949 to 1965.
Their shared interest in experimentation and research led to the creation of an innovative production model for the furniture industry based on the bond between the designer and the entrepreneur, still fundamental to the company’s production today.
This fertile period spawned the first armchairs designed by Gio Ponti for Cassina which furnished the great Italian transatlantic liners like the Andrea Doria, the Conte Grande and the Giulio Cesare, creating the first bridge between the USA and products Made in Italy. Ponti regarded these great ships as floating works of art, able to transport Italian excellence in all its forms across the ocean.
Today these models, part of Cassina’s historical archive, are still today numbered in the progressive order that they were inserted in the first company catalogues.
“Cassina’s historical archive conserves many models from Gio Ponti’s vast production with i figli di Amedeo Cassina (the sons of Amedeo Cassina). The collection includes chairs and armchairs, different models designed for exhibitions, cruise liners and public and private spaces, that all have the same recognisable matrix, the desire to succeed in modernity, the result of a passionate and intense collaboration.” Barbara Lehmann, Cassina Historical Archives.
Projects proudly MedaMade®.
MedaMade is a registered trademark that guarantees the quality and the uniqueness of Cassina’s production, meticulously carried out in Meda in the Brianza area of northern Italy. The 699 Superleggera chair is still today produced in Cassina’s carpentry workshop, at the heart of the company located in Meda. The structure of the production area is organised on an industrial scale and, at the same time, is composed of artisan workstations. Here the wood is worked with the most modern and sophisticated machinery but always with the consolidated manual skill of the craftsmen who manage each stage of production, in particular the gluing, sanding and assembly. For example, the assembly of the Superleggera is carried out in a single step due to the peculiarity of its joints that make up the chair’s frame.
A selection of models.
Alongside the classic model in natural or stained black or white ash-wood, versions from Cassina’s 50’s production are available with a coloured padded seat in removable leather or fabric, as well as special versions such as the never produced before black and white chair designed for exhibitions.
For the 60th anniversary of the chair, Cassina has introduced a new limited edition (60 pieces) with a red frame and an upholstered seat in a revised version of the Boxblocks fabric designed by the Dutch artist Bertjan Pot.
It is told that the chair was thrown into the Cassina courtyard by Cesare Cassina to test the resistance of this piece that had such a light aspect to it. In the 50’s, the chair frames were transported to Liguria on the roof of a Fiat 1100 for the seat to be produced in Indian cane. This letter was drawn by Gio Ponti for Umberto Cassina on his saint’s day (Sant’Umberto), it is testimony of the close friendship between the two.