Ode to the sofa, the rediscovery of the domestic epicentre of post-covid life lifestyle
The lockdown has given it back the prominence it deserves. The cornerstone of the home once more, we look at ten designs that celebrate its renewed importance.
Mason Cooley, a man so prolific in the art of the maxim that he was afforded the profession of aphorist, once said that “ideology has shaped the very sofa on which I sit”. He was probably referring to the fact that the sofa on which we chose to sit says much about us. Something similar can be said of our shoes, but with the difference that with the sofa, we enter into the private sphere, that “realm inviolate” Haruki Murakami refers to in Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. “Growing up sitting on a good sofa is like growing up reading good books or listening to good music”, wrote the Japanese author.
There are many stories that have a sofa at the centre of their universe. There is the velvet Chester that served as the meeting point for the cast of Friends for ten seasons. The brown three-seater The Simpsons rush to squeeze onto in front of the television at the beginning of each episode. The Dadaist, almost ready-made bathtub sofa belonging to Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The chaise longue of Madame Recamier in the portrait created by Jacques-Louis David. Or the popular sofa on the Oprah show that, exactly fifteen years ago, Tom Cruise made iconic by jumping up and down on it while professing his love for Katie Holmes on air.
The sofa has always been there, but it took a pandemic and weeks of lockdown for us to recognise its significance as much more than a mere piece of furniture. In an evolution of the concept of a “sofa-movie-blanket” weekend that began to be popularised with the arrival of Netflix into our lives, the idea of cultivating home life has reached new heights in recent months. And with it, the sofa has taken on a leading role.
“COVID-19 clarified the contemporary paradigm of the home, and crucially, how we live within it,” explains Michelle Ogundehin, author of the book Happy Inside: How to harness the power of home for health and happiness, star of Netflix reality show Interior Design Masters and a leading authority in interior design. “Homes had become little more than places to get ready to leave in the morning and collapse back into at night with living rooms in particular reduced to boxset-binge crash pads. And yet, during lockdown, online courses, board games and reading surged in popularity, indicating that the desire is there, if not usually the time”, explains Ogundehin. “A refocus” of the living room in general and the sofa in particular, says the expert, who we back up with these ten pieces.
10 Designs that redefine the sofa
- The Bocca sofa. The iconic design by Studio 65, which has been sat on by many, including Marisa Berenson and Beyoncé, is 50 years old and, in addition to the original passion red version, the Gufram brand is celebrating the anniversary with two dozen new colours, ranging from yellow to Klein blue. www.gufram.it
- Capsule by Katerina Sokolova. The Ukrainian designer, who won the 2018 FX AWARDS prize for this design, drew inspiration from the cocoons of silkworms to create a piece that embodies the desire for privacy and security. The fact that it uses sound absorbing textiles –you can read a book here without being disturbed– is no accident. www.sokolova-design.com
- Gamadecor NAP model. According to a study by the Instituto de Valoraciones on new the decoration trends prevailing in 2020, modular furniture in neutral colours is a safe bet at a time in which the desire for pragmatism combines with the desire for personalisation. Versatile and flexible, Gamadecor’s NAP line adapts to all types of spaces and owners. www.gama-decor.com
- Bernard by Nina Mair. The Austrian designer’s collection presents a new approach to sitting and seating. The particularity is the L-shaped back and armrest, which have the same height, allowing users to play with how they combine it and to choose the direction they want to face, without having to move the furniture. Especially important in small spaces. www.ninamair.at
- The Medusa Carezza collection by Versace. The equivalent of high heels that manage to bring life to even the simplest of black dresses. But we could expect nothing less else from the firm that invented supermodels. www.versace.com
- Kelly Sofa by Allmodern. Curved silhouettes that began to be popular on bars, islands and countertops have now arrived to sofas. Far from a wall and accompanied by a table that complements the shape, they serve as the centrepiece of any room. www.allmodern.com
- Prosciutto by Marc Newson. This piece comes from the creator of the already iconic Embryo armchair, conceived by the Australian designer as simultaneously a chair and a sculpture whose curious shapes –if the name left room for doubt– are inspired by ham. www.meritalia.it
- The Styrofoam sofa by Kwangho Lee. Conceived more as an experiment, it is an early case of the upcycling trend –the use of surplus materials to create new parts or, as it has always been called, recycling– that is beginning to take hold. Made from layers and layers of polystyrene cut using a hot wire, the inspiration for which, Lee explains, came from the hours he spent playing with this material as a child. www.kwangholee.com
- Canape by Lila Jang. Sophisticated and revolutionary are two adjectives that are difficult to combine, but when it is achieved, the result is spectacular. Inspired by the limitations of a small apartment, it is a break from the routine, as Jang’s furniture often is, playing with fantasy without totally disconnecting from reality. Those who have tried it say that it is perfect for lying back to read. www.luxartinstitute.org
- Crescent Loveseat by Charles Kalpakian. Based on the coquettish sofas of the 50s, the Franco-Lebanese designer has taken inspiration from several iconic pieces from that time. The other key is the contrast of the materials. www.kalpakian.fr http://kalpakian.fr/#/projets