Born in South Africa, Cassidy is now based in Los Angeles, where he works out of a 1920s Spanish Colonial building in West Hollywood. He’s also lived in London, Hong Kong and New York, and there’s an undeniable globetrotting sensibility evident in his work. A multi-hyphenate background doesn’t hurt either, with experience ranging from graphic design and art direction to modeling to interior and product design. “You could say I like evolution and reinvention—or that I’m easily bored.”
That boredom serves Cassidy well, though, driving an insatiable appetite for inspiration and a knack for interpreting seemingly disparate sources into a clear point of view. Cassidy first worked with CB2 in 2017, creating minimalist pieces grounded in simplicity and design fundamentals. It’s a complete 180 from his current work and reflective of Cassidy’s growth as a designer. “When I designed my first collection, I’d only recently started my design practice,” he explains. “I’ve learned a lot since then, and I feel more comfortable taking risks and being more expressive. This collection is so much more fluid and playful.”
Where his first CB2 collection was purposefully designed to have mass appeal, this one has more of an attitude. There’s a fearlessness and self-assurance to Cassidy’s designs this time around. If you get it, you get it.
Sometimes design can be pure fantasy.
I’m so sick of unattainable “designer furniture.”
Indeed, among the laser focus on craftsmanship and sophisticated forms, an unmistakably playful wink is woven throughout the entire collection. Design, after all, can and should be fun. It’s evident in details like hoof-shaped feet on sheepskin and shearling chairs, or in product names that reference Cassidy’s inspirations or close friends. Take the bar stools, named after a notoriously tipsy character on a classic British sitcom. Or the KST Sofa, which Cassidy says is “entirely my fantasy—and sometimes design can be pure fantasy.”
Then there’s the Otello Velvet Chair, a nod to an actual restaurant in Rome that’s mentioned but never actually shown in “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” a film Cassidy watches every summer. “When I go to Rome I like to go for a Negroni at Otello. It’s not the prettiest restaurant, and the food isn’t remarkable, but for me the experience conjures a feeling that’s unbeatable,” he explains.
Finally, the Jed Chair was the first piece Cassidy designed for this collection and is perhaps the most sentimental, named for his boyfriend. “The best for the best,” he says. “Everything else grew from this chair. It’s by far the most detailed, the combination of materials is the most luxurious and I believe it will stand the test of time. It’s my favorite piece in the collection.”
- Work in silence or with background noise: Always music playing. Mostly classical.
- Coffee order: Earl Grey tea
- Cocktail order: Vodka Gimlet
- We’ll never catch you without: an opinion
- Guilty pleasure: Any period drama TV series or movie. Women in corsets and men in tights … I’m in!
- Airport reads: Anything by Alexander McCall Smith. "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series especially reminds me of my childhood in South Africa.
- Style icons: John Galliano. Donald Duck. Ancient Egyptians.
- Favorite designer: Jacques Grange
- You’ll never get sick of: Parmesan cheese
- Your current state of mind: Distracted
- Favorite place to travel: Anywhere there is a great hotel
- Where you’d most like to live: In the English countryside with Kristin Scott Thomas
- Your greatest extravagance: Travel. Although it’s not really an indulgence, I think it’s essential.
- Talent you’d most like to have: To be able to catch a ball. I’m a great disappointment to my father in that regard.
- Most overused word or phrase: Amazing. Heaven. Divine.