When it comes to furniture design, the Italians clearly do it better. We present three of the biggest names in Italian furniture design — Molteni & C, B&B Italia and Cassina. Touted as the titans in the international furniture industry, these three Italian furniture brands are always the ones to watch. With their portfolio heritage pieces designed by posthumous design greats, backed by their troupe of renowned current designers such as Piero Lissoni, Patricia Uquiola, Antonio Citterio, Naoto Fukasawa, Vincent Van Dyusen, to name a few, design heads flock to their exhibits or showrooms. For Salone 2023, these brands were dedicated to putting out a showstopping event.
Molteni & C
Designed by the talented architect Roberto Ruspoli, the Molteni & C Pavilion captivated visitors with its seamless blend of innovation, craftsmanship, and timeless elegance at Salone 2023.
The sheer crowds packing the entrance attested to their might and popularity. The crowd is always curious to see the brand’s new proposals for 2023. Upon entering the pavilion, one was instantly transported into a realm of refined aesthetics and unparalleled artistry. The space was meticulously curated to highlight the brand’s iconic pieces, seamlessly blending classic designs with contemporary elements. The pavilion served as a stunning backdrop for Molteni & C’s exquisite furniture collections, including the celebrated “D.154.2” armchair, the iconic Gio Ponti chest of drawers, and the versatile “Chelsea” sofa.
Roberto Ruspoli’s masterful design was a testament to his deep understanding of Molteni & C’s philosophy. The pavilion’s architecture embraced a minimalist approach, featuring clean lines and a neutral colour palette that allowed the furniture to be statement pieces. The clever interplay of light and shadow added a sense of drama, accentuating the sculptural beauty of each piece.
Molteni & C’s commitment to sustainability was also on display in the pavilion. The brand showcased its dedication to eco-friendly practices through the use of responsibly sourced materials and innovative production techniques. This commitment to environmental stewardship is also backed by the brand’s long-standing ethos of creating evergreen furniture.
One notable piece is the “Cinnamon” armchair designed by Naoto Fukasawa. The seat offers a seamless blend of curves that provide the most comfort. Fukasawa was inspired by how one can enjoy a soft embrace, floating in an inflatable ring with your arms drifting along the water surface in a cosy shape that welcomes your body. The bulbous seat is complemented by a removable cushion designed for maximum comfort.
Ruspoli clearly understood the brief and was visionary about his approach. He also respected the brand’s commitment to excellence, therefore, he designed the pavilion to be an immersive experience that paid homage to the brand’s rich history while pushing the boundaries of contemporary design.
“We wanted to respect B&B Italia’s creative DNA and its multiple languages, a tribute to its ability to keep paradoxes under control. B&B Italia is recognised for great classics but at the same time has always been able to surprise. This year we wanted to be as surprising as possible.” Piero Lissoni, artistic director at B&B Italia
Being a stalwart in furniture design, B&B Italia is not short of creating something spectacular each year during Milan Design Week which coincides with Salone del Mobile 2023. Done at their Milan showroom along via Durini, the theme of their collection was about “Solids” — where the space was transformed into various segments grouped by primary colours into three-dimension geometric solids. Lissoni explained, “We wanted to respect B&B Italia’s creative DNA and its multiple languages, a tribute to its ability to keep paradoxes under control.”
The cheery and colourful setup was a kaleidoscope of shapes, shades, lines, finishes and ideas with the aim of presenting the new goods from a modern and fresh perspective. Notable in the collection were these pieces: the new “Tortello” Tortellini-shaped sofa and armchair designed by British designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, aka Barber Osgerby; Singaporean designer Gabriel Tan showed off his new range of 100% circular bedroom furniture called “Quiet Lines”; Piero Lissoni’s sleek “Eryt” armchair where a blend of Nordic design and Japanese culture come together; not forgetting his ultra voluminous sofa “Dambo” with bendable armrests.
Fusing innovation and tradition, Cassina’s new proposals at Milan Design Week 2023 were a riot of colour, shapes and geometric patterns. The brand was also proud to communicate its strong connection to its rich heritage while pushing the boundaries of design. These pieces were exhibited at the Milan showroom along via Durini. Collaborating with visionary designers such as Patricia Urquiola, which is also Cassina’s creative director, the brand is dedicated to presenting modern furniture that is functional but also challenges conventional norms.
This year, the brand proudly exhibited the iconic “LC4” chaise longue designed by renowned architects Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, and Charlotte Perriand. The chair celebrated its 100th anniversary this year. Cassina presented a stunning reinterpretation of this timeless piece, combining luxurious materials and contemporary finishes. The LC4 showcased the brand’s ability to preserve the integrity of classic designs while infusing them with a fresh and modern aesthetic.
Continuing their tradition of collaborating with visionary designers, Patricia Urquiola’s “Moncloud” sofa was inspired by a duvet. Hence, the sofa offers backrests and armrests that wrap around the sitter like a duvet. The 100 per cent recyclable sofa is also easily dismantled at the end of the sofa’s life. Her “Hayama” commodes are inspired by traditional Japanese Kimono jackets.
Furthermore, Cassina introduced an exclusive limited edition series of chairs by the esteemed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. These meticulously crafted chairs captured the essence of Wright’s organic architecture, emphasising harmony between the furniture and its surroundings. Each piece displayed Cassina’s commitment to honouring design legends by faithfully reproducing their masterpieces, ensuring their legacy lives on.
In conclusion, Cassina’s new proposals at Design Week 2023 showcased the brand’s ability to seamlessly blend tradition and innovation. Its new proposals are complemented fluidly with its iconic heritage pieces, too. It also showed to the world that it will continue to be at the forefront of the furniture industry. With their commitment to sustainability and timeless craftsmanship, Cassina remains a valid symbol of excellence in Italian furniture design.
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