For the first time ever, Cassina has constructed a prefab mountain dwelling conceived by Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret from the drawings the pair created in 1938.
The structure occupied an area of the Design Village within the space of Poltrona Frau, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
The two-story structure is clad in aluminum panels; Perriand was interested in creating a lightweight prefab structure for high-wind environments.
The two-story structure's interior is clad in pine. On the ground floor, two single beds are held in place with leather straps and can fold down for seating during the day. There are two double beds on the mezzanine level. Perriand, an avid Alpine mountaineer, intended the refuge to be packed in and constructed easily. CASSINA Refuge Tonneau C. Perriand, P. Jeanneret work in progress / CASSINA Refuge Tonneau C. Perriand, P. Jeanneret work in progress exterior / Copyright Archives Charlotte Perriand, ADAGP 2012
The heater occupies a central pillar, and Perriand made the most of every inch by designing furniture to fit neatly into crevices. There's also room for storing backpacks and skis.
The "kitchen" is comprised of a stainless-steel worktop, a steel basin for melting snow, containers for staples, and a shelf for a camping stove.
Pernette Perriand-Barsac, Charlotte's daughter and her personal assistant for over twenty years, hand-selected items that belonged to her mother from her own home to display inside the refuge. Her mother's sunglasses are set up alongside her camping equipment.
Perriand-Barsac also shared correspondence, maps, and other ephemera from her mother's archives.
Perriand conceived the dodecahedron structure to be lightweight but able to withstand windy and steep conditions. The metal frame consists of a central pole with twelve spokes.
Upstairs, round apertures frame views of the outdoors, while more beds surround the ladder. Perriand meant for the refuge to sleep up to eight people.
Perriand was reportedly inspired by a photograph of a children's fairground ride in Croatia. She came up with the original idea in 1936, and then developed it further with Jeanneret. Pernette Perriand-Barsac said her mother would be most pleased to see it finally realized. Maquette du Refuge Tonneau, 1938 / CASSINA Refuge Tonneau C. Perriand, P. Jeanneret work in progress exterior / Copyright Archives Charlotte Perriand, ADAGP 2012
Located amidst the sprawing Design Village at Poltrona Frau's space in Milan is a curious dodecahedron structure with aluminum paneling and a decidedly starship-playhouse quality. It's called the Refuge Tonneau, and it was first conceived by Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret in 1938. Until now the refuge has existed only in drawings and plans, but this year Cassina, working closely with Perriand's daughter (and former assistant) Pernette Perriand-Barsac, decided to make the sketches a reality.