Last September, during Milan Design Week, Cassina officially launched in its showroom collections dedicated to the contract sector (hospitality, offices, commercial spaces, hotels, restaurants, etc.) A line soberly called Cassina Pro, which Luca Fuso explained to us , Chairman and CEO of the group.
How does Cassina Pro differ from residential collections? Is it above all an adaptation of products to a professional sector rather than the creation of dedicated collections?
Luca Fuso: We have noticed that there is indeed a strong demand, in the hotel and catering and office sectors, for products that have a certain aesthetics and great comfort, while responding to the particular use, intensive, of these sectors. We therefore decided to select several iconic models from the Cassina collections and to adapt them. But we also have some new models.
How do you actually make these adaptations?
Luca Fuso: Of course we keep the forms. Sometimes we adapts the sizes, as is the case for example with the Volage collections designed by Philippe Starck where we have slightly reduced the depth of the seats, we will add a base for stability (as for the LC7 swivel armchair by C. Perriand). Then, above all, we adapt the coatings to the standards of the sector: we have flame-retardant fabrics, with certified resistance (for example BIFMA and GreenGuard). And we are of course updating the technology (electrification, integration of USB sockets, etc.), knowing that we are already adapting the electrical systems of our products according to the country. Sometimes the adaptations do not relate to technical questions but to exclusive color ranges.
You finally transpose the DNA of Cassina in the pro sector, keeping this principle of reissue?
Luca Fuso: We are not going back over the history of Cassina: our portfolio includes collections that date back to 1965 and are still there. Re-edition is part of Cassina’s image, the products stand the test of time, they are adapted to meet contemporary uses.: we plan the passage of cables, we adapt the drawers, the systemsclosing, for example. But Cassina Pro also presents models that are not reissues, but editions designed from archival replays.We are thus releasing the Petit bureau en forme libre by Charlotte Perriand (designed in 1956) and the adaptation of the LC10 desk from La Semaine à Paris (Salon d’Automne 1929). We also have new collaborations like with the American designer Jeffrey Bernett (note: Exord armchair).
Cassina also announced this year the takeover of Karakter?
There was an obvious connection: Karakter does the same job as Cassina on a smaller scale: presenting masterful products combined with creations by new designers.
Two years ago, Cassina also presented the Cassina Lab with, in particular, in Paris the presentation of a sofa by Philippe Starck with a covering in vegetable leather, made from apple peelings. Where is this project?
It is still at the prototype stage, it does not yet satisfactorily meet our marketing criteria, particularly in terms of resistance and production process. But we had exposed it to launch the Cassina Lab. This department started two years ago. The first objective was to create a team dedicated to innovation, researching materials with possible application in the furniture industry. We have a partnership with Polytechnico of Milan, the objective is really to have multidisciplinary teams, biologists, chemists, architects, engineers, designers… This year, for example, we reissued the Soriana sofa by Tobia Scarpa. As part of the Lab’s research, the polyurethane of the original structure was completely replaced by BioFoam microspheres (note: foam based on biopolymers obtained from natural resources). This resistant material is suitable for long-term use, while being biodegradable and compostable. For the seat, we have also used recycled PET fibres, which guarantee great comfort.
Because the search for comfort meets the second objective of the Cassina Lab, which is the ” well being “. We really start from habitat products to which we have just added functions. For example, last year, we were interested in the bedroom, a room where we spend a lot of time. We have thus worked on headboards that absorb noise, “augmented” fabrics so that they filter the air, thanks to a patented technology.