Cassina Revives a Design Icon
A crowd of design enthusiasts turned out last night at Cassina’s SoHo showroom to fete the rebirth of a pioneering design. Originally created by the late designer Franco Albini in 1940 as a one-of-a-kind prototype for his home in Milan, the Veliero bookcase is a marvel in engineering—inspired by the sails of a ship, the ash support beams and steel ties allow the glass shelves to float in space. Though, as Albini’s son, Mario would discover, it was not indestructible.
At the party, Mario recalled blasting some bass-heavy music, which caused all of the shelves to shatter. After 15 years as a room divider between their dining and living spaces an appearance on the cover of Domus, and countless mentions in Italian design books, that was the end of the Veliero. The remains were resigned to the basement.
From above: The original Veliero bookcase; the newly redesigned version.
But now, decades later, his father’s creation is coming to life once more. Thanks to years of research started by Cassina and a team of design critics, nautical engineering experts, and various structural engineers in 2006, the shelf is ready for the marketplace.
A relief to Mario, who said he can finally stop feeling guilty about the musical mishap. Though, he won’t have to worry about making the same mistake twice: the new version’s shelves are made from safety glass.
For more information visit cassina.com