Milanese architect and designer Vico Magistretti created innovative products that, over several decades, never once went out of fashion. That’s because 'simplicity is the most complicated thing in the world', he would say. His main objective has always been to create furniture that can defy time. In fact, he declared: “Good design should have no expiration date but continue to repeat itself over a long period of time and remain relevant even after 100 years”.
Vico Magistretti in the Cassina carpentry workshop, 1963_ © Cassina Historical ArchivesContinuous dialogue between brand and designer
The successful partnership between Cassina and Magistretti goes back to the beginning of the 1960’s. When Carimate chair was included in the catalogue it became an instant success. At that time Cassina was encouraging designers with different visions. The idea was to launch industrial design in Italy by taking a shift from artisan handicraft to serial production. Thanks to constant exchange, the professional and personal relationship between Vico Magistretti and Umberto and Cesare Cassina continued to strengthen, with the maestro’s talent and creativity on one side, the combined expertise and premium quality of a pioneering company on the other.
Maralunga, the magic of motion, innovation and comfort
In the 1970s, ABBA was mixing up the Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo and Erno Rubik adding up twists and turns to what would become the world's most famous cube, Vico Magistretti was polishing his most renowned design and highly acclaimed winner of a Compasso d’Oro award.
The story goes that Cesare Cassina punched a prototype of Maralunga with his clenched fist. When he first saw it, the piece failed completely to meet his expectations, let alone his demand for extreme comfort. The blow and the resulting damage to the sofa’s back, however, was exactly what Magistretti needed. A clumsy gesture revealed to him, in a flash, how to innovate the traditional sofa. At that time he just commented: “Right. Great! It looks perfect to me like that.”
Photo Credit: Mario Carrieri © Cassina Historical ArchivesMaralunga immediately made its mark. The strong points of the product, its most salient features, did not fail to have an impact on the international market: its innovation, concealed in the movable headrest that builds upon a mechanism developed from a simple bicycle chain, its reassuring appearance and the extreme simplicity of its soft padding.
Maralunga Maxi_photo credit De Pasquale+Maffini“With Maralunga”, said Vico Magistretti, “I aimed at designing an object that could represent a whole range of interior architecture with a familiar feel. Someplace warm, comfortable and cozy, where one can feel totally at ease in the new-found embrace of those old, comfy, protective wing chairs pulled up to a fireplace, or the window. Two positions, two possible uses, two different ways to create your own personal space inside a room.”
905, a modern chair with a heritage
905 chair, designed by Magistretti in 1964, was produced by Cassina until 2000 and, with slightly different finishes, included again into the brand’s 2018 collection. All modifications fully respect the original project and have been approved by the Vico Magistretti Foundation. A perfect combination of wood and saddle leather, the chair’s cylindrical legs, arched armrests and premium materials all contribute to its elegance.
905_photo credit De Pasquale+MaffiniNuvola Rossa, a revolutionary bookcase
Simplicity and essential forms are the main characteristics of this piece by Vico Magistretti from 1977. Designed as a collapsible bookcase, according to Magistretti’s modus operandi, it’s all about analysis and reinterpreting basic elements of any bookcase and the sum of its parts: the structure and shelves. The result is a lightweight and modern piece of furniture whose “muted” appearance hosts a surprising mechanism.
Nuvola Rossa_photo credit De Pasquale+Maffini
Maralunga Maxi_photo credit De Pasquale+Maffini