Highlighted by a display of its design collaboration with the late Virgil Abloh, high-end Italian furniture brand Cassina unveiled its largest store to date in May on North Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood.
“We are extremely excited to open the largest Cassina Store in Los Angeles, sharing our unique vision of the home with the American public,” says Luca Fuso, CEO of the almost 100-year-old company.
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Curation and arrangement of the very vivid showroom come courtesy of noted Spanish architect and the brand’s art director, Patricia Urquiola. Spread across 13,000 square feet, the massive three-level showroom is arranged to intimately mimic different rooms of a home in a variety of styles and moods that showcase Cassina’s design philosophy ‘The Cassina Perspective’. This unique vision is rooted in the company’s history of blending innovation (Cassina brought serial production to the Italian furniture industry in the 1950s and continues to use advanced tech, today) with craftsmanship.
The store showcases pieces from current designers alongside those produced from the iMaestri Collection, the company’s tradition of collaborating with the foundations of significant architects like Pierre Jeanneret, Charlotte Perriand, Gaetano Pesce, and even LeCorbusier.
“We like to research new ideas with contemporary designers, but at the same time with masters from architecture,” says Urquiola, in an interview at the showroom, regarding the ever-evolving cross-disciplinary project that was established in 1973. “This is organic in our work, but now other companies are getting vintage pieces from [architecture masters]. For us, it’s been a normal thing.”
Just last year, Cassina’s collaboration with Abloh (the young Louis Vuitton menswear designer unfortunately died before the launch) was finally revealed. Abloh, whose college major was architecture, dreamed up Modular Imagination which consists of two stunning matte black speaker-like cubes with orange pegs that can fit together in numerous configurations of seating or tables. Working with Abloh was “an honor” Uriquiola says, “I’m very proud of that.” Abloh’s Modular Imagination cubes are on display at the store in a special area painted a shocking bright orange.
About the store’s colorful visual language, Urquiola says: “This idea of getting energy from color is giving a sense of new experience.” The architect explains that the company itself was infused with a new type of energy when Fuso came on board as CEO five years ago. Every year since his arrival, Cassina has embarked on a new thematic focus in order to continue propelling the brand’s evolution. “He always has this idea of how to enlarge the vision of the company,” says Urquiola. “I think we have a company with such an incredible heritage — the question is always, you know, how to make it breathe.”
Exceptional items on display in the store include Pesce’s Feltri chair covered in vintage American quilts in a special limited-edition by Raf Simons; the Soriana Chair in a limited edition of 50 and done in either black, white or blue denim; the Paravento Balla screen in lively bright orange and green, based on an original tempera and pencil sketch by Futurist artist Giacomo Balla; and Urquiola’s own design of a bed, the king-size Bio-mbo, featuring a large quilted headboard and two side wings that offer storage pockets.
Cassina has also modernized the materials they use, an excellent example being the switch made to environmentally friendly biofoam now used in their classic Tobi Scarpa-designed Soriana Chair and other pieces. “There is a lot of research on fabrics, on padding, on how to make things that you can dismantle in a very good way,” says Urquiola. “We are on a very circular new path.”
This year the company’s theme is “Lighting,” and it will be launching a series of lighting-focused products with Dutch designer Linde Freya Tangelder, winner of this year’s Young Design Talent Of The Year prize at Elle Decor’s annual international design awards that take place at Salone. “We are creating a kind of atmosphere and language, which for us, is a very modern attitude through all the pieces we have. I hope people here in L.A. will understand the language we are trying to create,” says Urquiola, whose other recent projects include the design of the recently opened Six Senses Rome hotel. (Robb Report has described it as “sleeker and earthier than any of the city’s other luxury hotels.”)
Asked to describe how she approaches design projects, Urquiola says without hesitation, “I work with my heart.”
Echoes, a book celebrating Cassina’s now legendary 50 years of partnerships, will be released in the fall by Rizzoli.
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