Cassina as seen by Karl. Cassina Paris presents a world premiere of the book of photographs dedicated to the Cassina Collection, the first photographic project by Karl Lagerfeld for a design brand.

Paris, 18th January 2018. The book ‘Cassina as seen by Karl’ unveils a fashion designer's unique perception and fresh vision of a selection of furniture by Cassina that he has personally chosen from the most emblematic symbols of modern and contemporary design. In a true mise en abîme, the book is presented within a space entirely decorated and brought to life by large format reproductions of Karl Lagerfeld's photographs, while a number of screens display backstage footage of the photo-shoot.

Just like the artists interprets Cassina's iconic pieces in the photos, the exhibition underlines the essential contrasting colours, light, geometry and graphics of the works with an original installation of unique black and white versions of the furniture.

The showroom installation features the Lebeau tables by Patrick Jouin, Tre Pezzi armchairs by Franco Albini, and the 699 Superleggera chair by Gio Ponti.

“I had never ‘worked’ on this kind of project. To visually reinterpret examples of perfect design is completely new for me, and therefore stimulating, exciting even.

I am also a fan of the Cassina ‘productions’ and for years I own many of the photographed pieces, often more than one. My first ‘order’ was the famous chaise-longue by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand in the 60’s…” Karl Lagerfeld.


Cassina, through the eyes of Karl Lagerfeld.

Never before has Karl Lagerfeld collaborated with a furniture manufacturer on a photographic project. A true lover of design and one of the most influential aesthetes of our time, he has approached this theme through an artistic project entrusted to him in 2013 in which his favourite design references would pose in front of his lens.

The renowned publisher Gerhard Steidl was involved in this original artistic project right from the very outset, he followed the entire process and also printed the limited edition photos.

Steidl also managed the layout of the photographic exhibition, first in the Cassina Saint- Germain Showroom and then in a series of international cities.

Today, five years after the exhibition of Karl Lagerfeld's works, with their strikingly plastic use of colour and differing formats, Gerhard Steidl now shares this remarkable interpretation of the Cassina Collection in the publication ‘Cassina as seen by Karl’.

"Just as Cassina's furniture pieces are multiples of the designer's vision, Steidl books are multiples of the photographer's work - in this case of Karl Lagerfeld's modern and graphic pictures.

It's been a pleasure to create a book that rivals Cassina's furniture in terms of quality materials, craftsmanship and longevity." Gerhard Steidl.

An anthology of haute-couture design.

In this book the publisher has attempted to rediscover the photographs of the artist and design lover. From the LC2 armchair by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand to the Auckland armchair by Jean-Marie Massaud, Karl Lagerfeld points to a series of milestones representing a concise history of design, some taken from his own personal collection. Reversed, in conversation, captured by a detail, stacked, or a as tribute, this furniture that has become so familiar thanks to its fame, appears in graphic compositions that make it both mysterious and unusual. Without betraying the furniture’s identity, Karl Lagerfeld manages to extract an element of humanity from their form.


Karl Lagerfeld and photography.

Karl Lagerfeld debuted in photography in 1987. He received the Gordon Parks Foundation Award in 2011, the Lucky Strike Design Award from the Raymond Loewy Foundation, the cultural prize from the German Photographic Society, and the ICP Trustees Award at the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Awards in 2007. Not only has he produced a number of photographic books and curated numerous exhibitions, he has also been invited to be guest editor at Wallpaper and AD France among many other magazines.

Gerhard Steidl.

Gerhard Steidl opened his print studio at only 17 years old. In 1972 he founded the publishing house that two years later published the works of the future Nobel Prize winner Günter Grass. In a short period of time he became a reference for photographic books. Karl Lagerfeld, Robert Adams, David Bailey, Robert Frank, Nan Goldin, David Lynch, Guido Mocafico, Lou Reed, Bettina Rheims, Paolo Roversi, Richard Serra, Juergen Teller, Massimo Vitali have all entrusted their works to his publishing house, one of the few that still remains independent and that manages all stages of production from its headquarters in Göttingen.