Aspen Sofa, Jean-Marie Massaud when describing his design inspirations, Jean Marie Massaud returns again and again to metaphors from ПЭШГб and literature

Подпись: © The Aspen Sofa is actually a collection of three pieces; a right and left version that can be used separately or combined into one large sofa, or a smaller, standalone version pictured here. Credit: Nicola Zocchi “When you look at nature and how life is growing, it’s not square,” he says. “It’s an ecosystem which is very rich in terms of life. It is the same thing as composing a sentence. This collection is speaking about furniture as a reef, a living thing, a solution that lets you use space in a different manner.” And within this context, his Aspen sofa, developed for Cassina, is “. . . an articu­lation, a punctuation that gives it strength and strangeness in space.”

The Aspen is actually three different pieces. There is a right and left version, each of which is an elegant study in asymmetry: one edge flows fluidly from two planes to a single surface, while the other edge appears chopped off in a bold, 90-degree stroke. These pieces can be used individually or attached to their mirror image to create a single, large sofa. Alternatively, there is a smaller, one-piece sofa of the same shape, the rounded moun­tain of its back rising gently from the flat plain of its seat. While Massaud enjoys all the pieces, he favors the individual halves: “Symmetry is death,” he says. “Asymmetric is life.”

In keeping with this metaphor, Massaud found developing the Aspen sofa was a natural process. He reports that one of the pleasures of working with Cassina is the creative freedom they of­fered. “Once they ask you to design for them, they already agree with your universe and your ideas,” he says. “Of course, we had to discuss details and technique, but they are already with you, and they let you go creatively.” Massaud was aware that his client had a predominant aesthetic, and he wanted to offer them some­thing that broke their particular mold. “In the world of Cassina, things are quite precise,” he points out. “1 wanted to speak about fluidity, lightness, something that is not expected.” Apparently, Cassina agreed, as the direction of the entire collection was artic­ulated in a single meeting. “In the very first drawings, everything was expressed and they agreed with the whole attitude, which is about much more than shape,” Massaud says. “It’s about a way to understand and live within space. In this attitude, the sofa was not the finality, but part of the whole setting. I wanted to speak openly in space, with light in the room, to feel energy every­where, but also create intimacy and connection.”

Just like regarding a natural landscape, the contours of the Aspen sofa change dramatically, depending upon the angle at which you look at it. Made of injected foam on a stainless steel frame, a deep, structural slit turns what you expect to be a single, padded entity into two separate planes, jutting away from one another. According to Massaud, other, much more organic shapes were considered, but were rejected when it became clear that they would be too difficult to develop. “We arrived at something that is comfortable, but with a shape that expresses a story and looks like a piece of something folded,” he explains.

(2) The right and left versions of the Aspen can be com­bined to form one larger symmetrical sofa. Here, it is paired with an Auckland chair. Credit: Nicola Zocchi

 

(Q The most distinctive design element of the Aspen is not only the curve of the back, but also the surprising structural split that is especially dramatic when viewed from behind. Credit: Nicola Zocchi

 

Aspen Sofa, Jean-Marie Massaud when describing his design inspirations, Jean Marie Massaud returns again and again to metaphors from ПЭШГб and literatureAspen Sofa, Jean-Marie Massaud when describing his design inspirations, Jean Marie Massaud returns again and again to metaphors from ПЭШГб and literature

Aspen Sofa, Jean-Marie Massaud when describing his design inspirations, Jean Marie Massaud returns again and again to metaphors from ПЭШГб and literature

Aspen Sofa, Jean-Marie Massaud when describing his design inspirations, Jean Marie Massaud returns again and again to metaphors from ПЭШГб and literature0 An early sketch shows the economy of form that makes the Aspen a “punctuation” in the storytelling that Massaud seeks to achieve through his designs. Credit: Jean-Marie Massaud

Aspen Sofa, Jean-Marie Massaud when describing his design inspirations, Jean Marie Massaud returns again and again to metaphors from ПЭШГб and literature

© The Apsen’s dramatically simple shape looks to the designer as if someone folded a piece of upholstery. Credit: Jean-Marie Massaud

Aspen Sofa, Jean-Marie Massaud when describing his design inspirations, Jean Marie Massaud returns again and again to metaphors from ПЭШГб and literature

Aspen Sofa, Jean-Marie Massaud when describing his design inspirations, Jean Marie Massaud returns again and again to metaphors from ПЭШГб and literature@ Left: Part of Massaud’s goal in designing the Aspen was to create a form so pure that it would be comfortable in any setting and make a strong statement in eclectic collections. Credit: Jean-Marie Massaud

0 The Aspen is equally at home in a domestic or commercial setting, alongside technology or the comforts of home. Credit: Jean-Marie Massaud

© In this drawing, Massaud imagines the Aspen sofa as part of the landscape that informed its inspiration and design. Credit: Jean-Marie Massaud