Can’t get your hands on an original Eames light fixture? Do not worry. Cassina will soon reissue Charles and Ray Eames’ iconic starburst pendant light through their iMaestri Collection. The light, Galaxy, is one of four products Cassina is bringing back from legendary architects and designers whose creativity defined the 20th century, modernized for the design lover today.
Since 1973 Cassina has used the iMaestri Collection to reinvent coveted home furnishings that have gone out of production. It’s a way of preserving, yet updating, the work of some of the most important names in design history. Many people included in the series, like Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, even collaborated with Cesare and Umberto Cassina between the ’50s to ’70s, which gives Cassina a deeper insight into honoring the original maker’s aesthetic and design principles.
For the line’s 50th anniversary, Cassina is celebrating with new reissues from some of the biggest names in the game: Eames Office, Vico Magistretti, Gio Ponti, and Carlo Scarpa. Cassina dives into archival research and collaborates with the architects’ studios and estates to reproduce the works as accurately as possible, while also being mindful of contemporary sourcing issues to update the work sustainably.
Gio Ponti and Vico Magistretti are new to the iMaestri Collection, but they’ve long been entwined with Cassina. Both were employed with the company throughout the ’50s and ’60s and released many award-winning designs. The new collection revives Gio’s refined wooden chair, Principi, and Vico’s flexible sofa, Maralunga 50.
Principi, first introduced in 1960, now sports an open-pore ash frame and custom woodworking details, which are most prominent in the backrest that is cut to evoke a diamond. It comes in four colors—white, Vermiglione red, Cielo light blue, and black—each inspired by Gio’s ceramic work.
The Maralunga 50, which won Italy’s Compasso d’Oro in 1979, is being reissued in a stunning Nubeck red, a color closely connected to Vico’s unconventional style. By creatively integrating a bicycle chain, Cassina preserves the innovative headrest that can flip over into a backrest. Thick stitching draws attention to its plush silhouette.
The other two designers in the 50th anniversary collection, Carlo Scarpa and Eames Office, are new Cassina collaborators. Carlo’s Doge table, first introduced in 1968, becomes the Doge Laguna. Working with Carlo’s son Tobia Scarpa, Cassina makes the table’s handmade, rippling glass top mimic Venetian canals, and its crystalline frame practically disappears from view.
iMaestri’s Eames Lighting Collection, to be released in 2024, might be most exciting for American collectors. A prototype of the pendant light, Galaxy, made waves during Milan Design Week with its familiar spiky frame. Cassina discovered schematics for lighting designs at Eames Office, and got approval to produce the pieces true to their mid-century form. While photographs of the new fixtures are under wraps, keep an eye out for images from Cassini’s exhibition, Echoes, 50 years of iMaestri at Palazzo Broggi, which displayed the prototype.
Cassina’s reissues of the Maralunga 50 and Doge Laguna are limited editions. If you don’t grab these designs when they hit the market, it may be another half century before they’re manufactured again.