It’s now 40 years since internationally renowned architect and designer Mario Bellini’s iconic cab range of furniture first came to fruition.
Distributed by Italian furniture innovator Cassina, the range was conceived in 1977 as an extension and prosthesis for the body: a skeleton in tubular steel and stretched, stitched leather, fastened to the frame with four zips. In a chair version or as an armchair with armrests, it comes in saddle leather in a vast assortment of colours. Testament to its design credentials, Cab is part of the collection at the MoMA in New York and remains one of Cassina’s bestsellers.
Despite its renown, Bellini’s achievements stretch well beyond furniture design.
During an illustrious career, he has received the Golden Compass Award eight times, and other prestigious architecture awards including the Medaglia d’oro awarded by the President of the Italian Republic for his contribution to furthering design and architecture in the world (2004) and the Ambrogino d’oro for civic merit awarded by the City of Milan (2011).
He has given talks in many of the world’s great cultural centres and was the editor of the magazine Domus from 1985 to 1991. He has 25 of his works in the permanent design collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art, which dedicated a personal retrospective to him in 1987.
He has also held countless art, design and architecture exhibitions over the years, both in Italy and abroad. Since the 1980s he has dedicated himself almost entirely to architecture. The manifold projects he has designed include the Portello Trade Fair district in Milan, the Villa Erba Exhibition Centre in Cernobbio (Como), the Tokyo Design Centre in Japan, the Natuzzi America Headquarters in the United States, the Essen Expo Centre in Germany, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, the headquarters of the Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, the Verona Forum complex, the City History Museum in Bologna, the Department of Islamic Art at the Louvre in Paris, and the new Milan Convention Centre, the largest in Europe. While projects currently underway include the refurbishing works on the Brera Pinacoteca in Milan, while others nearing completion include the Erzelli Science and Technology Park in Genoa and the Civic Marble’s Square in Carrara. He has various projects at the design stage, which include the “New Eco-City” of Zhenjiang in China and a large Residential, Cultural and Sports Complex in Qatar.
The Cab range now comprises a chair, stool, night bed, lounge armchair, armchair and sofa. That the range is as popular as ever, 40 years after it entered into production, is a good indicator that Bellini’s range from the late 1970s has become a design icon.
Cassina is available exclusively through Space Furniture in Australia, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
You can check out the entire range here.