Blast From The Past: B&B Italia Reissues The Iconic Camaleonda Sofa

If you had to design one sofa to live with for the rest of your life, what would it look like? While there have been many attempts to create one such archetypal lounger, no designer has approached it with quite so much imagination as Mario Bellini.

 

Combining the versatility of the chameleon (cameolata) and the freedom of waves (onda), the Cameolanda Sofa transforms contemporary lounging into a glamorous game of Tetris. Thanks to its ingenious system of hooks and rings, it can be redesigned at will, responding dynamically to the ebb and flow of modern life. Originally designed in 1970, it’s re-release for 2020 is one of the most exciting bits of industry news we’ve received all year. Here’s why…

An Icon Reborn


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Mario Bellini


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The 1970s were all about experimentation. In music, this manifested as androgynous rockstars with unruly locks and smoky eyes. In fashion, bell-bottom jeans and a missguided attempt to bring back the poncho. However, when he looked around at the design landscape, Mario Bellini couldn’t help but feel disheartened by the monotonous shapes of the off-the-shelf sofas he encountered.


“At the beginning of the 1970s upholstered furniture for the home had stagnated into the tired traditional stereotypes and radical-provocative elitist forays.”


Bellini decided to do something about it. The sofa he craved would be geometric yet curvy, a living system that could grow or contract at the click of a finger. It would honour the past in terms of upholstery and comfort, yet pave the way for an exciting future in which the client was the ultimate designer.

It was an immediate success. The Camaleonda Sofa could soon be found snaking its way through contemporary homes and galleries, kickstarting the appetite for modular design.


“Of all the objects I have designed, Camaleonda is perhaps the best in terms of its sense of freedom. There are infinite number of possible configurations.”


Its return for 2020 feels particularly prescient. As we each search for new ways to connect, the Camaleonda reminds us of the importance of thinking outside of the box — sometimes, doing away with it altogether.

 

There are a couple of differences between this model and the original. While the cosy optics remain intact, the process of production has changed significantly. This is because 20th-century concerns of originality have been replaced by today’s urgent demands for sustainability — criteria in which Cameleonda excels.

As such, the composition of the sofa has been completely redesigned with no room for nostalgia. The “sandwich” structure of Camaleonda is now made up of recycled or recyclable materials that can be easily disassembled. The seat, backrest and armrests and bases are made of wooden panels and the spherical feet on which it rests are crafted from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified beech.

Colour has also been carefully considered for the new and improved Camaleonda. Recognising the need for mood-boosting hues, B&B Italia is presenting the sofa in 5 key colours. Among them, 3 earth hues shot through with piquant moments of curry orange and bougainvillaea. Taken together, the updates represent B&B Italia‘s commitment to designing a more colourful future, in which heritage and sustainability co-exist.

You can now shop the Camaleonda Sofa online or in-store at Chaplins. Due to the wide range of configurations available, we recommend getting in touch with one of our friendly design experts for any help ordering. Lifestyle images used in the blog accessed via Camaleonda.

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