Cassina 9.0 : 2017-1927 « This Will Be The Place » : a monograph on the future of interiors presented in Paris with the 2017 Collection.

A 90-year legacy of researching contemporary living and interiors.

Cassina has always had a special interest in interiors. Not only in the way furniture is arranged in a room but also how the cultural and social impact of interiors and architecture can effect the way we live.

In its 90 years of history, the company has consistently produced furniture for contemporary living. Its transformation from an artisanal approach to serial production in the 1950s was one of the first examples of Cassina’s far-reaching vision.

The quest for modernity through the research of new forms and materials continues to be part of Cassina’s company DNASo is the cultural dissemination of the works of its designers and architects. Take for example the reconstruction of avant-garde architectural projects such as Le Corbusier’s Cabanon summer hideaway, or the Refuge Tonneau, a mountain shelter designed by Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret in 1938.

 

A pioneering book that explores contemporary social behaviour and its possible impact on the future of interiors for Cassina’s anniversary.

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, to celebrate its 90th anniversary, Cassina commissioned a study on how an

evolving society influences the future of interiors. The result is ‘This Will Be The Place’, a 352- page monograph published by Rizzoli and curated by Felix Burrichter (editor, creative director, and founder of PIN–UP magazine in New York).

The 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 can 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.

 

Free Flow, Arno Brandlhuber: a home with undefined, fluid spaces.

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.

 

Artful Living, Martti Kalliala: the curator’s house, where art imitates life and life imitates art. Part of an anthology.

In his speculative and slightly sardonic essay How we Live TomorrowBerlin-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.

 

Playground, Konstantin Grcic: positive disruption to promote experimentation and longer lives.

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.

 

Back To The Roots, Zhao Yang: a natural habitat where rural meets urban.

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.

 

Bed Time, Beatriz Colomina: the home is the bed, where physical meets digital.

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.

Concepts from the book “This Will Be The Place“ meet the new products on show at the Cassina Paris Saint Germain Showroom.

The concepts of fluidity of space, hybridization of types, and circularity of time and forms analysed in the book’s critical readings all emerge in the collection’s new products and influence the evolution of the existing ‘mutating’ designs, offering new horizons.

The new Collection includes the Floe Insel sofa by Patricia Urquiola, completely in tune with the principle of flexible interiors. This visually dynamic piece has large asymmetrical volumes that give a strong sense of comfort.

A clear interaction with the user and another expression of a need for versatility of spaces and furniture is Konstantin Grcic’s Soft Props. A setting for public or private conversations defined by a graphic line that almost abstractly designs a space, tracing the edge of the sofa and creating a more intimate boundary made comfortable by soft seats and varying cushions.

Also suitable for a flexible domestic setting are the Baleno shelves, designed by the Bouroullec brothers in a first collaboration with Cassina. Like the vertebrae of a whale, these shelves flex under the weight of books and become a wall decoration when combined together in repeated elements, for a constantly transforming space. The second piece by the two French designers is born from the Cassina catalogue drawing on family memories to create a new product. Chair or small armchair? Cotone is the union of a very soft, cosy down seat with a minimal, rigid supporting structure that brings to life a model that conveys all the comfort of a padded chair for the dining table.

 

Constantly evolving designs.

Some products in the catalogue broaden the collection’s range with new solutions.

New proportions and details for the sofa by Piero Lissoni with 8 Cube, which offers padded elements without side and back panels, in addition to a new swivel armchair.

Some designs are enriched with new finishes and colours, like for example the Flat cabinets by Piero Lissoni and the collection of Réaction Poétique objects by Jaime Hayon.

Other upgrades considerably change the original design, like the Lebeau table designed by Patrick Jouin for Cassina in 2003. Now revisited in wood with a light base made of alternating full and hollow spaces with curved solid wood slats, the table is the perfect expression of the company’s high level production skills.

To conclude, a true return to the brand’s roots with Gio Ponti’s Leggera chair to commemorate the intense and long-lasting partnership that was established in the early 1950s and that led to the production of the iconic Superleggera in 1957.

 

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