There are limited edition drops. Then there are drops so monumental, they can’t be time sensitive. Such is the impact of ‘Modular Imagination’ by late design visionary Virgil Abloh for luxury Italian furniture brand Cassina, a set of distinctive blocks that interlock to create slick pieces of furniture and in so doing forge new spaces and configure living landscapes.
Revered as an artistic genius across multiple creative spheres, architecturally trained fashion designer Virgil Abloh’s disruptive aesthetic was globally renowned for breaking the boundaries between streetwear and luxury. Leather joggers and $100 shoelaces were just the beginning, Abloh stratospherically rising from intern at Fendi to Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton's menswear collection and CEO of his own label Off-White in less than a decade.
Fusing his pioneering design vision with Cassina’s expertise in haute-couture-level furniture manufacture, ‘Modular Imagination’ is a legacy as well as a landscape. Abloh was particularly proud of this project, which began development in 2020 and was completed before his premature death in late 2021. The unique design is entering the permanent Cassina catalogue, the brand saying; ‘In complete respect of Virgil Abloh’s work, ‘Modular Imagination’ enters the Cassina catalogue, emphasising the value of this project that does not aim to be a limited drop but attests the quality of his work within the design world.’
Composed of two different-sized matt black building blocks, each is finished with vivid orange cylindrical feet (ready to slot into the cube below) and tagged with a graphic “Cassina-Abloh” logo. Despite its hard, industrial look, each piece is surprisingly soft to the touch, the textured surface supportive enough to hold drinks and objects as well as comfortable to sit on.
Abloh wanted to be ambiguous and explore modularity. One size does not fit all. The flexibility of ‘Modular Imagination’ was designed to reflect our need for versatility in navigating the modern, ever-changing world. Just got one? Hello side table. Got more space? Construct yourself a bench, chair, ottoman or beyond.
Abloh’s blocks are an invitation to create, exploring the simplest and most humble creative process – childlike play. In a few moves, the surrounding landscape is dramatically altered, light pulled into segments of blackness for a true interiors style statement, ready to evolve and reconfigure at any moment.
Working with Cassina LAB, the furniture brand’s research and innovation department, Abloh ensured the collection was sustainable. The black outer material is made from a partially plant-based polymer, while inside is a recycled wood core reached by cutting along a dotted line under the block’s feet for easy disassembly and recycling.
‘Modular Imagination’ belongs everywhere. On (another) Abloh-designed mega-rapper album cover. Alongside designer furniture in the home. Anywhere between the two. The cubes hover between an architectural tools, functional furniture pieces and sculptural objects, asking us to question their function and experiment to find the answer.
We’ve stacked the squares centre stage in our Greater London showroom, where they’re poised to transform from vivid, impactful blocks of blackness to smaller more subtle sections.
Photo Credit: Sun Shi via Cassina