Revival vs. Innovation
by Fabian Peters | 4/25/2019
The grand review: These are the trends and highlights of this year's Milan furniture fair.
Almost thirty years after the appearance of the evergreen Cab, Mario Bellini returns to leather design with the Bull chair. Cassina's brief for the project was clear: give the market a chair that offers a more contemporary mood than the Cab - an acknowledged icon across all areas of leather manufacture - while retaining the same trump cards, and utilising the manufacturing technologies the company has developed in the meantime. Armed with an unparalleled knowledge of his material and supported by manufacturing staff equally on top of the subject, ready to push through the boundaries once again, today the architect approaches the leather chair from an even more advanced standpoint, and it moves him towards new horizons both in comfort-related performance and in terms of form.
With sleek, spare lines eliminating useless frills, the basic construction of the chair is simple: a steel frame completely upholstered in polished leather, as is the padded seat in expanded polyurethane. Bull, clear and simple geometry in space, gradually reveals the complexity of its design and the cutting-edge manufacturing process involved in its making. Despite the padding, the upholstery aheres so perfectly to the form of the chair that the frame practically disappears, accentuating the suppleness of the seat. The sinuous line of the seat and back offers total comfort. At the same time the separation between the two elements not only gives the chair the imperceptible movement that adds to the comfortable sensation, it also leaves meticulously planned narrow openings to create a perfect balance of filled and empty spaces, aimed at achieving a design that is light and discreet in its intended context. And yet Bull has a very strong formal identity, made up of details like the exposed stitching over the full contour of the chair, synthesising the most advanced industrialisation and hand tailoring, applied where the legs and the seat meet so as to keep them separate and distinct, an effect once again underlining the extremely dynamic nature of this chair. Comfort, details that are precious and yet absolutely natural, fluid lines also designed to increase functionality: enabling the chair to be stacked, for example, thanks to the particular curve of the edge of the seat which makes it even easier to handle. Having masterfully resolved the questions of function and form, Bellini amuses himself by playing with the more "decorative" aspects of the design, creating a version in which the polished leather upholstery is paired with a fabric drawn from the luggage range; when lined and specially treated, it has the look of leather but a different texture, offering an even more innovative interpretation of the material used.
Classical yet modern, Bull lends itself to meeting precisely and flexibly both the needs of the intimate domestic setting and those of bigger public spaces, with every detail planned to last beyond ephemeral fashions and trends.
|Seat finish||without upholstery|
|Base finish||with legs|
|Backrest finish||with backrest|
|Armrest finish||without armrests|
shades of red