Cool Since 1974

Cassina celebrates the 40th anniversary of Maralunga, the iconic sofa by Vico Magistretti with a project that narrates the past, the present and the future.

The Cassina showroom in Paris pays tribute to one of the most famous sofas of our times for the whole month of September: Maralunga. An installation that traces the making of a legend, from its creation in the seventies through to today’s presentation of a fresh new edition, a limited edition, and a study project by students from the ECAL/University of art and design Lausanne.

The seventies: enlightening intuition
While ABBA were busy winning the Eurovision Song Contest singing Waterloo and Ernő Rubik was inventing the twists and turns of the world's most famous cube, Vico Magistretti was completing one of his most renowned models, acclaimed winner of a Compasso d’Oro award. The anecdote tells of how Cesare Cassina punched a prototype of Maralunga with his clenched fist when it was shown to him by the Milanese architect, as the piece failed to completely meet his demand for extreme comfort. The consequent break of the poor sofa back was just the enlightenment Magistretti needed: the clumsy movement showed him the intuitive criterion needed to make this traditional element more innovative and he commented, “right, great, it looks perfect to me like that”.

The magic of movement, innovation and comfort
The Maralunga sofa immediately made its mark as an article with great strength and impact on the international market. The concealed innovation in the way its headrest could be moved to give a low or high back -developed from a simple bike chain -its reassuring appearance and the extreme simplicity of its soft padding, fully summarise the salient characteristics of this design. “My intention with Maralunga”, said Vico Magistretti, “was to design an object that represented a whole range of interior architecture with a familiar feel. Somewhere warm, comfortable and cosy, where one can feel totally at ease in the new-found embrace of those old, comfy, protective reading armchairs pulled up to a fireplace or window. Two positions, two possible uses, two different ways to create your own personal space inside a room”.

2014: a new anniversary model
To celebrate this special anniversary, Cassina presents the new Maralunga ‘40 version, upholstered in fabric or leather with distinctive stitching, a simple yet refined pinch around the edges, which gives it an even more modern and youthful appearance. This new version joins the classic Maralunga to offer a more ample choice to suit all settings and, most of all, all ages.

A ‘cosmic’ limited edition
Cassina also presents Maralunga Mercurio Vivo as a tribute to the future of this icon: with its silver fabric, it could almost be part of the set of ‘Moonraker’ with James Bond. This ‘cosmic’ version is available in 40 pieces(applicable to the two-seater or the large two-seater sofa) numbered progressively from 1/40 to 40/40 and can be ordered at premium Cassina stores.

20 students and 20 projects in a bid to find the Maralunga of the future
As a tribute to the 40th anniversary of MaralungaCassina decided to involve the designers of the future from ECAL, the renowned design university in Lausanne. 20 international students on the Master Product Design course were set the challenge of designing the sofa of the future, starting from the Maralunga chassis. The brief? Simple, comfort first and foremost.

From Meda to Lausanne for a complete study programme
The students got their initial inspiration for the project during a visit to the Cassina factory in Meda where they were able to get a feel for the history of the brand and observe production techniques. Following this visit, various workshops with the Director of ECAL, Alexis Georgacopoulos, and designer Tomas Kral were organised, as well as two meetings with the Cassina R&D Centre, which resulted in 20 integrated projects.

On show the two winning prototypes
The work entailed a semester of study, research and development and led to some surprising proposals. Cassina will showcase the two winning prototypes, one by Qiyun Deng, a Chinese girl born in 1983, and the other by Jin Eum, a Korean girl born in 1987, as part of a display dedicated to the world of Maralunga.

Maralunga, an evolving icon
Cassina therefore pays tribute to 40 years of the Maralunga project for the Salone del Mobile 2014, while awaiting 2024, when, according to Magistretti himself, it will satisfy all of the requirements to become a true eternal piece:
“There are so very few eternal pieces: furniture becomes 'eternal' if it manages to survive at least 50 years. At that point it is forever.” From an article published in Domus, April 1993.