The collection
Simple four-legged side chair with full black leather slip cover.

Chair, Cab

Designed by
Mario Bellini (born 1935)
Enameled steel, polyurethane foam, leather covering
Produced by
Cassina S.p.A., Meda Milano, Italy
80 x 47 x 42 cm

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Liliane and David M. Stewart Collection, D93.254.1

Bellini has designed a chair that follows the reductivist mandate of modern design, yet conveys a deluxe quality of a previous era. Its name, Cab, is short for cabriolet, an elegant one-horse carriage with a folding hood. An innovative leather envelope fits snugly over the entire welded steel frame like a wetsuit.

The leather covering can be unzipped and removed, a technique previously used only for fabric slip covers. Leather in the 1970s was associated with high-style fashion, such as Gucci handbags, but here the effect is a simple, unified design with a warmth that metal could not have provided. Bellini demonstrates that even everyday objects can convey a feeling of style and luxury.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, photo: Denis Farley.