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Cassina


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(established 1927)

Cesare and Umberto Cassina founded this well‐known furniture company in Meda, Milan, in 1927. It soon moved from the manufacture of historicizing wooden pieces into the provision of quality modern furnishings and living room ensembles for La Rinascente store and other major buyers, allowing the company to survive the difficult economic climate of the 1930s. The company gained wider recognition in the 1950s, brought about through commissioning progressive designs from architects (such as Gio Ponti's Superleggera chair of 1956) and the growing international status of Italian design. Commissions also began to flow in from a number of sources, from hotels, restaurants, and public bodies to ocean liners, including the Andrea Doria and the Michelangelo, irrevocably moving Cassina away from its craft origins towards large‐scale industrial production with an emphasis on quality and design values. Cassina products are often renowned for their innovative qualities, as seen in the Wink chair by Toshiyuki Kita and Aeo by Paolo Deganello. Other designers who worked for the company included Albini, Mario Bellini, Branzi, Magistretti, Ponti, Pesce, and Starck. However, in 1965 the company also began production of its Maestri series. This comprised reproductions under licence of classic designs by Le Corbusier, Paul Jeanneret, and Charlotte Perriand, later expanded to include Mackintosh, Rietveld, and Gunnar Asplund. About 30 per cent of the company's sales are accounted for by the Cassina I Maestri, the remainder by contemporary products. Cassina products are represented in leading design museums throughout the world and the company has showrooms in Milan, New York, Paris, and Tokyo. About 80 per cent of the company's production is devoted to export markets. Although the French company Strafor Facom acquired a shareholding interest in 1989 Cassina is still run by an Italian management team.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.


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