Milan Preview: Cassina
Friday, March 28th, 2014
GIANLUCA ARMENTO, Brand Director
Since 1927, Cassina’s architects and designers—including the likes of Mario Bellini, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Philippe Starck—have used their diverse sensibilities, styles, and creative spirits to craft some of the most influential Italian furniture of the past 87 years.
At last year’s Salone, Cassina debuted Starck’s MyWorld sofa system, designed for flexibility in both work and leisure. The brand also unveiled a contemporary tribute to the lounge chair, Patrick Norguet’s P22, and Luca Nichetto’s Motek chair, which uses the innovative technique of pressure-molding felt—a characteristic of the car industry—to create a sleek and experimental design.
We spoke with the company’s brand director, who will journey to Milan for his fifth Salone this year, to hear his opinions on Italian design and investigate what we can expect from Cassina come April 8.
For someone who hasn’t been, how would you describe the Salone experience?
I’d like to borrow a quote from Giulio Cappellini on this—it’s like a Christmas miracle for the design world: surprising and astonishing, like when the kids wake up and see all of their presents and dreams under the tree.
What do you most like and dislike about the fair?
I like working on the whole process of presenting something new. It’s like the Olympics, where you have to prepare to meet, discuss, and be judged on a worldwide level in just one week—always trying to do your best, if not better. I don’t like the fact that there’s not enough time. It’s such a marvelous moment; it’s like traveling to 60 countries in one week. I’d like to dedicate more time to everyone.
How does the Italian way of design and manufacturing set the country apart from the rest of the world?
Furniture design is still considered a unique patrimony to Italy. This is particularly thanks to the Italian companies that have always been ready to invest in innovation and experimentation and to challenge talented international designers and architects. Even in the 1950s, Cassina was investigating new production techniques, materials, and styles, which have resulted in the collection’s great icons. For change to exist, uncertain exploration has to be carried out, and the Italian companies are brave in the way they take this approach.
What can we expect from Cassina at this year’s Salone?
We will be showing the Cassina SimonCollezione at the Salone del Mobile after last summer’s acquisition of the historical Italian furniture design brand Simon, founded by Dino Gavina and Maria Simoncini. This meeting tells the industrial story of two companies and two pioneering entrepreneurs united today by an experimental approach and the expression of the relationship between culture and production. SimonCollezione, now part of the Cassina I Contemporanei Collection, brings together renowned names such as Carlo Scarpa, Marcel Breuer, and Kazuhide Takahama. We will also be presenting a new collection, which also includes new faces for Cassina. However, I cannot reveal more than this.