We speak to CEO Luca Fuso to discover what this iconic furniture store brings to the region
Words by Laura Cherrie Beaney in Design & Architecture · Aug 16th, 2023
Since its inception in 1927, Cassina, the iconic Italian furniture design brand founded in Meda by Cesare and Umberto Cassina, has remained at the forefront of innovation. Renowned for its forward-facing philosophy, Cassina emerged as an early trailblazer, transitioning from traditional handcraftsmanship to pioneering serial production methods. Today, the brand seamlessly blends design heritage with cutting-edge technologies and sustainable practices, placing a firm focus on research and innovation.
A haven of architectural and design marvels, a Cassina store is a testament to the creative genius of some of the most influential design and architecture figures of the 20th century. Offerings by icons of modern design such as Le Corbusier, Mackintosh, Frank Lloyd Wright, Gaetano Pesce, and Philippe Starck can all be found at Cassina.
In March 2023, the brand unveiled its inaugural Dubai store, in partnership with Vivium Holding, housed within an expansive Jumeirah villa, a setting curated by architect, designer, and Cassina Art Director, Patricia Urquiola. It's an arrival that heralds a new era in the region's design trajectory. Now, we sit down with CEO Luca Fuso to delve into how Cassina's presence is redefining the design landscape of the UAE.
Luca: Cassina is an Italian design company with a legacy that spans almost a century. We understand our philosophy as the “Cassina Perspective”. Our unique outlook sees decades of design come together in harmony to establish striking and welcoming living environments.
Before I took the position of CEO I was already a Cassina client. I’ve always been passionate about exquisite design therefore Cassina was naturally one of my favourite brands.
What sets Cassina apart is the brand’s ability to bring together the most renowned twentieth-century design icons. In our stores, one can encounter pieces by the likes of Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand Collection as well as innovative and contemporary names like Michael Anastassiades, Antonio Citterio, Philippe Starck and, of course, exceptional pieces by our own Art Director, Patricia Urquiola.
Our icons such as Soriana by Afra e Tobia Scarpa and the pieces that we have from the Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand Collection see historically significant designs respectfully updated with the use of circular materials and conscious design processes.
Eclectic and holistic collections mean that Cassina can completely furnish living and dining areas, bedrooms, and the outdoors in a vast array of styles to suit different tastes and needs.
Our core values - authenticity, innovation, quality, and excellence - remain central to everything we do, therefore I like to think that the Cassina aesthetic conveys the warmth of a real home rather than a showroom. We always strive for a sophisticated interpretation of one’s style.
We’ve always maintained a future-facing approach to design. We pride ourselves on anticipating the market’s needs and coming up with innovative solutions as a result of the intense research and development that we’ve conducted over the decades.
It’s truly hard to pick favourites as I appreciate so many of Cassina’s designs but I’ll share a few highlights. I find the Paravento Balla privacy screen by Giacomo Balla and the Radio in Cristallo by Franco Albini, a radio, mounted between two sheets of tempered glass, conceived by Franco Albini for his home in 1938, two very significant cultural projects. They are now part of the Cassina iMaestri Collection, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. I’m also a fan of the Bramante cabinet by Kazuhide Takahama, a design that we completely rebooted to cater to the renewed requirements of the contemporary moment. The Ghost Wall, a system of decorative panels is another design highpoint for me, it’s both highly functional and decorative, developed to work in every area of the home. We didn’t have anything like it in our portfolio before.
I find Dubai to be a very dynamic market that offers immense opportunities to the design world, we, therefore, found it to be a perfect location for Cassina. I’ve certainly witnessed an evolution in regional tastes over these past few years and I believe that current preferences now correspond with Cassina’s signature style.
Our Dubai store caters to residential customers that want to furnish their homes with a more contemporary, design-focused approach as well as innovative commercial projects given that Dubai is an important hub for the contract market.
In addition to our recent Dubai launch we’re working on a number of projects right now. This year we’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Cassina iMaestri Collection. We held an exhibition earlier this year in Milan, and will follow on from this public display with our publication entitled Echoes; the book goes in-depth about Cassina’s unique approach to authentically and explores the classics produced by some of the most influential designers of the 20th century. Later this year we’ll also participate in Downtown Design Dubai. There, visitors can encounter a selection of our most iconic designs.
In terms of design, we’re currently working on new collections that will be launched in 2024. Creations include the Outdoor Collection and the main 2024 Collection that will be presented during Milan Design Week, the most important moment for the furniture sector which takes place every April.
Images courtesy Cassina