Its early pieces were based on historicist models from the 19th century. In the 1930s, it made armchairs and dining room sets for Milan’s Rinascente and Mobilificio di Fogliano. After World War II, Cassina changed the way it made and sold its products. The new generation of designers pushed the company to the forefront of Modern design.
Harry Bertoia was a sculptor, printmaker, jeweller, and furniture designer. He was born in San Lorenzo, Udine, and worked in the United States professionally. During World War Two he worked with Ray and Charles Eames on moulded-plywood technology. He worked primarily as a sculptor from the mid-1950s onwards. His sculpture was prominently featured in many of Eero Saarinen’s buildings.
Alessandro Mendini (b.1931) played an important part in the development of Italian, Postmodern, and Radical design. He was co-founder of Studio Alchymia (with Alessandro and Adriana Guernero) in 1976. He was awarded several international prizes, including the Compasso d’Oro in 1979, 1981, and 2014. In 2011, he was awarded with the title Doctor Honoris Causa of the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan.
He was an apprentice in the studio of Giovan Battista Gianotti, painter, furniture designer, and decorator; in 1921, opened Bot- tega di Pietro Chiesa, Milan; in 1927, (with Gio Ponti, Michele Marelli, Tomaso Buzzi, Emilio Lancia, and Paolo Venini) founded Il Labirinto, which produced high-quality glassware.
From cl1880, Zen directed the most crucial furniture workshop in Milan. He was active in the stile floreale, continued after the 1902 Turin ‘Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte Decorativa Moderna’ to be known for his Art Nouveau and Symbolist motifs. He was not a designer himself but instead a factory owner and manager. From 1898, his firm was associated with Haas of Vienna, whose designers included Otto Eckmann.
Rodolfo Bonetto (1929 – 1991) was Italian furniture and industrial designer. He began his design career at the Pininfarina automobile body design firm. In 1958, he founded his studio. Between 1963-69, was a member of ADI (Associazione per il Disegno Industriale) advisory committee and participated in numerous other professional organisations.
Osvaldo Borsani was born in Varedo Switzerland at the crossroads of craft and modern manufacturing. The son of a cabinetmaker, he trained as an architect in Milan in the 1930s, when the city was a centre of technological advancement and flourishing artistry, with the economic momentum to push both at speed.