Indochine by Charlotte Perriand - Collezione Cassina iMaestri - Photo © Francesco Dolfo
Indochine by Charlotte Perriand - Collezione Cassina iMaestri - Photo © Francesco Dolfo

“Design culture” has deep roots. On the one hand, it draws on a universe of craftsmanship, crafts and skills that have laid the groundwork for the evolution of the sector. On the other, it is tied to the creative brilliance of figures who have revolutionized the history of design, bringing innovation and vision, leaving a tangible and above all eternal mark. These are “the Masters,” iMaestri, sources of constant teachings, timeless, outside fashions, who have transformed styles and above all habits and ways of living. One of the companies that has adopted this idea of “design culture” is Cassina, by directly focusing on the legacy of these Masters to write a new chapter of history, where past and contemporary coexist in perfect harmony. The result is the Cassina iMaestri Collection with which the firm makes editions of the great design classics: from Le Corbusier to Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, Vico Magistretti to Charles and Ray Eames. In this “catalogue” of exceptional creatives there is a woman, a pioneer of Modernism, with a strong, independent personality, who rewrote the practice of interior architecture in the 20th century. 

Her name is Charlotte Perriand, and Cassina has created a collection of her works that has now reached its 20th anniversary. Charlotte Perriand is rightfully considered part of the cultural avant-garde that from the early decades of the 20th century fostered a sweeping renewal of aesthetic values, giving rise to a truly modern concept of everyday life. Her career began thanks to Le Corbusier, with whom she collaborated intensely, together with Pierre Jeanneret, who represented a moment of intense, lively creativity, alongside the experience in Japan, where she discovered the crafts traditions of the country and its architecture, absorbing them into her approach to design. 

Rio by Charlotte Perriand – Collezione Cassina iMaestri – Photo © Luca Merli

Rio by Charlotte Perriand – Collezione Cassina iMaestri – Photo © Francesco Dolfo

Ventaglio by Charlotte Perriand – Collezione Cassina iMaestri – Photo © Francesco Dolfo

Cassina has explored this extraordinary personality on multiple occasions over time. The process actually began in 1964, when the company acquired a worldwide exclusive for serial production of the first four models designed by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand, laying the foundation for what would become the Cassina iMaestri Collection. But it was not until 2004 that Cassina launched the Charlotte Perriand Collezione, in close collaboration with Pernette Perriand-Barsac, her daughter and sole heir, through which to present a wider, more complete overview of her work.

Today, for the 20th anniversary of the collection, its offerings have been further expanded with an exclusive selection of models never industrially produced, and novel versions of icons already present in the catalogue. First of all comes the Indochine chaise longue, designed by Perriand in 1943 when she was in Indochina acting as a consultant on arts and crafts. Bedridden during the last months of her pregnancy for medical reasons, she designed a chaise longue with armrests, in a fluid form to allow her to continue reading, writing and drawing. 

Indochine by Charlotte Perriand – Collezione Cassina iMaestri – Photo © Andrea Bartoluccio

Table Montparnasse by Charlotte Perriand – Collezione Cassina iMaestri
– Photo © Francesco Dolfo

The reissue by Cassina replaces the original rattan with metal tubing and incorporates innovative strategies to improve comfort – from elastic belting to pads with removable covers, and soft upholstery made with recycled PET fiber.  This is followed by two tables. The Table Montparnasse, created in 1938 by Charlotte Perriand for her studio in that neighborhood of Paris, is part of the famous series of tables “en forme libre” never officially placed on the market. 

The three legs support an asymmetrical top, available in natural canaletto walnut and black-stained ash wood. The Ventaglio table, offered in a limited edition of 30 pieces, is one of the best-loved icons of the iMaestri collection. In the new version, with a revised vanish in natural canaletto walnut, the three legs of the base are made with a square cross-section. Cassina pays tribute to another timeless icon by Charlotte Perriand, the Rio table, presented in a new range of finishes. 

Ventaglio by Charlotte Perriand – Collezione Cassina iMaestri – Photo © Francesco Dolfo

Vase à fleurs échancré by Charlotte Perriand – Collezione Cassina iMaestri – Cassina Details
– Photo © Luca Merli

The wooden structure comes in black oak, combined with a top in natural Vienna straw, or in precious marble finishes: Sahara Noir, glossy or matter, black Marquiña or white Carrara, with a shiny surface. Finally, the Vase à fleurs échancré has now been presented for the first time by Cassina, starting from sketches made by Charlotte Perriand in Japan. Entirely in glass blown into a cast iron mold and then crafted by skilled artisans, it features intentionally irregular lines that emphasize the unique character of the product. And of its creator.