Some like their sofas structured. With clean lines and upright backs. We like ours cosy. The kind of seat you can lounge around on all day. Listening to vinyls. Or marathoning classic films.
If your criteria looks anything like ours, you’ll love the wave of 70s sofas that is sweeping the industry. Some are lost-n-found styles, unearthed from the sketchbooks of some of the eras most creative thinkers. Others, like the Togo, never went out of fashion. Here are 7 of the cushiest to sink into this summer…
When some taste makers come calling, there is only one right answer. How soon do you need it? And so it was that months before the 1970 IMM Cologne Fair, Tobia & Afra Scarpa found themselves working on a radical new sofa design for the gatekeeper of Italian style, Cesare Cassina.
“At the beginning, the workers did not understand that the leather covering was not supposed to be taut,” explained Tobia. “Rather it needed to appear like a soft, creased fabric curled around this soft mass and held together by a sort of giant metal spring.”
The result was a low-slung lounger, whose generous padding and aesthetic detailing conspired to create the kind of carefully contrived casualness once only found in Parisian apartments. Beautiful alone or in carefully arranged clusters, it’s one of our favourite lost and found styles this season.
Trio is the ultimate quick change artist. One of the few designer sofas we know that can flit between lounging or sleeping functionalities and look good doing it. The secret is that there are no physical hooks connecting each component. Instead, elements are stacked on top of each other like a glamorous game of Tetris.
Buildable yet beautiful, Trio is a sofa that grows as you do. Always respecting the needs and size of domestic space.
“Of all the objects I have designed,” says Mario Bellini, “Camaleonda is perhaps the best in terms of freedom.” It’s shape-shifting sectionals are connected via metal caribeanas, each of which can be unhooked to form new islands of comfort. With no set shape, it is a cosy, people-pleasing style that allows loved ones to come together in whatever way they wish.
Better still, are it’s stellar eco-credentials. While its cosy optics are almost identical to the original 1972 model, it’s production has been redesigned with no room for nostalgia. Today, the “sandwich” structure is made entirely of recycled or recyclable materials — all of which can be easily disassembled in the future. The spherical feet and wooden structure have also been designed to tread lightly, too, and are now crafted entirely from FSC certified beech.
Togo is the ultimate laissez faire lounger. Wrinkly like a bulldog. And just as irreverent. We first started importing them in the early 90s. And have made a point of always having one in our showroom since.
Like many of the other designs on this shortlist, it sits low to ground — a welcoming gesture that allows people to come together without fuss or fanfare. The informality is completed by the unusual crinkled upholstery – a beautiful, artisan feature that only looks to become more popular as we search for new ways to introduce tactility into routines flattened by screens.
Indeed, so beloved did it become during the pandemic that each of the artisans in the French factory had to take on a new apprentice. At the moment, the waiting list for Togo designs stands at around 16 weeks. And while we always advocate that beautiful things take time, if you can’t wait to meet this crinkly sofa, do make an appointment to visit out showroom, where we have a full baby pink corner unit on display.
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to float atop a cloud? Pierre Paulin has. So much so that when tasked with creating a new series of forward-thinking loungers, he brought some of them down to Earth. Known as Pacha, they represent a soft, spherical spot in which to drift off in daydreams. Or reconnect with the world around you.
This season, Gubi have extended the series to include a beautiful modular sofa. The key to its connectivity lies underneath the puffy armrests, which clip into hidden loops to create a sculptural yet fluffy look. Just as Paulin intended.
Life by Acerbis
In the early 1970s, one plus one equalled infinity. Modularity was the buzzword du jour. And sofas had to be open to an endless number of configurations if they were to earn a place in the unfolding dance of domesticity.
No designer felt this more keenly than Roberto Monsani. While better known for his work on modernist Italian villas, he found himself intrigued by the possibility of designing to human, and secretly began work on a series of avant-garde sofas and shelving.
One such lost and found style was the Life Sofa. All clean, contemporary lines, it is easily the most structured style on this shortlist. And yet what Life lacks in curves it makes up for in generosity. All of the cushions are topped up with feather down, before being upholstered in premium crushed velvet. The covers are also fully removable — Mr Monsani was nothing if not practical. The reboot has been featured on the covers of both Wallpaper and Elle Decoration magazine. An icon, rediscovered.
In her 2018 TED Talk, Ingrid Fetell Lee revealed something we’d suspected for a long time. Round, bulbous shapes – be it a soap bubble or oversized lounge chair — have been scientifically proven to spark joy.
It’s an idea that’s wonderfully evident in the Marenco Sofa. Every aspect of the lounger, from the inward curving armrests to the oversized cushions has been designed to convey a sense of barely contained softness. In its sheer squishy indulgence, it almost feels like an adult bean bag. Designed to hug you close and never let go.
Do you have a favourite 70s sofa? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Better still, if you have one of these styles in your homes, send us a snap. We’d love to see how you’re incorporating such classic designs, today.
SHOP ICONIC 70S SOFAS ONLINE OR IN-STORE AT CHAPLINS
Pacha 2 Seater Sofa With ArmrestsFaithfully adapted from Pierre Paulin's sketchbook, the new Pacha Sofa is every bit as ethereal as the designer intended. The addition of delicate armrests lends a puffy, cloud-like quality to the sculpted silhouette — offering new and improved possibilities for lounging and relaxing.
Pacha 3 Seater Sofa With ArmrestsFaithfully adapted from Pierre Paulin's sketchbook, the new Pacha Sofa is every bit as ethereal as the designer intended. The addition of delicate armrests lends a puffy, cloud-like quality to the sculpted silhouette — offering new and improved possibilities for lounging and relaxing.
Pacha 3 Seater SofaFaithfully adapted from Pierre Paulin's sketchbook, the new Pacha Sofa is every bit as ethereal as the designer first imagined. Available in both fixed or modular configurations, its svelte curves offer a chance to sit among the clouds — with each seat perfectly engineered to hug the body in comfort.
Camaleonda SofaCamaleonda is an icon, rediscovered. First designed in 1970 by Mario Bellini, it was one of the first truly modular sofa designs, evolving through contemporary living rooms like a wonderfully soft wave. By hooking and unhooking seats, backrests and armrests, you can enjoy the luxury of changing your mind as many times as you desire, moving and redesigning the space.
Soriana SofaSoriana is a lost and found style from the early 1970s. All soft curves and loose upholstery, it’s cushions are held together by a giant metal clamp — a particularly original detail that creates a sense of barely contained softness. For all it’s casual overtures, it remains a statement piece — an icon of contemporary design, sensitively reissued with new environmentally friendly materials.
Soriana ArmchairSoriana is a lost and found style from the early 1970s. All soft curves and loose upholstery, it’s cushions are held together by a giant metal clamp — a particularly original detail that creates a sense of barely contained softness. For all it’s casual overtures, it remains a statement piece — an icon of contemporary design, sensitively reissued with new environmentally friendly materials.
Maralunga 40 Maxi SofaIf it's classic Italian style you're after, look no further than Maralunga. Originally designed in 1973, it was the first sofa to boast adjustable backrests, imbuing a once static object with new movement and life. Forty-five years after the launch of the original, Cassina is thrilled to introduce the Maralunga 40 Maxi — a contemporary rendition whose updated proportions allow for even deeper comfort.