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90 Years of Design: Cassina

Today, Cassina is synonymous with Italian design thanks to its pioneering inclination for research and experimentation.
Today, Cassina is synonymous with Italian design thanks to its pioneering inclination for research and experimentation.

In the small town of Meda in the Brianza region of Northern Italy in 1927, two brothers launched a furniture company that would go on to redefine contemporary design around the world. 90 years later, what started as a humble company focused on traditionally crafted wooden furniture has continued to evolve and push the boundaries of production, design, and style to new levels. Today, Cassina is synonymous with Italian design thanks to its pioneering inclination for research and experimentation and work created by a roster of some of history’s most important architects and designers. Sharing its passion for design, Luminaire is pleased to announce a renewed partnership with Cassina which will be returning to our showrooms in Miami and Chicago.

At the outset, Cassina was focused on crafting small pieces of wooden furniture – small work-tables and living-room tables – which later extended to include armchairs and living room furniture. Toward the end of the 1940s, Cassina opened up to collaboration with designers operating outside the firm. This separation from in-house design marked the progressive passage from artisan to industrial proportions and the start of the research into form and experimentation with different materials.

After WWII, Italian design was in the process of being born, and Cassina was among the architects of the phenomenon. Always a first mover in the exploration of new materials and structural technology, Cassina launched industrial design in Italy during the 1950’s, taking a first and completely new approach to serial production by combining traditional craftsmanship with technological skill. Cassina was ready for research and experiment, primed with its mastery of the crafts tradition.

Over the years, Cassina has continued to define this new industrial model, with the ability to meld very diverse personalities from different historical and cultural backgrounds and imbue them with the same design philosophy. In their broad collection of furniture, a progression of design history is evident.

Cassina’s products are divided into two categories, “Cassina I Maestri” (Cassina Masters) Collection and “Contemporanei” (Contemporary). The Maestri collection launched in 1964 with the acquisition of the rights to products designed by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand, the most important names of 20th-century design. The collection has widened to include works by Gerrit Rietveld, Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Erik Gunner Asplund.

These historically important designs remain relevant today. Complementing the icons in the collection are pieces in the Contemporary collection. Here, the list of names reads like a brief history of design. From the pioneering work of Gio Ponti and the sculptural shapes of Vico Magistretti to the conceptually flamboyant designs of Philippe Starck and the innovative forms of Toshiyuki Kita, this collection continues to grow yearly with pieces from current designers. Pieces by Patricia UrquiolaKonstantin GrcicPiero Lissoni and Jean Marie Massuad continue to show Cassina’s commitment to design, craft, and quality.

Luminaire and Cassina have a relationship that dates back nearly 25 years when Cassina first launched at Luminaire. We are pleased to have the pioneering brand back in our collection.

May 2017