For centuries associated with relax and rest, even more than the bed or the armchair, the sofa is today the piece of furniture at the center of our quarantine, symbol of the restrictions and lockdown that were forced upon us by the pandemic all over the world. Home is the only center of attraction in everybody’s life, therefore it is crucial, now more than ever, to feel comfortable in our living space. Many Italians have been spending their days on the sofa, either reading, snacking, TV binge-watching, or working; even the little ones have been doing their homework on the sofa, lacking an office space or a desk. Furthermore the sofa has been used for training and physical exercise, becoming the key element of our domestic life.
It’s no wonder that, in the last few decades, the sofa has been one of the furnishings more deeply affected by technological evolutions and social transformations: firstly it was the epitome of the typical bourgeois parlour, used to host and welcome guests, a real conversation haven. Then, with the advent of television, the sofa assumed new shapes, designed with comfort as a priority, and assumed a central and well-distanced position in the room, in order to guarantee a good view. Starting from the 80s we find sofas that differentiate from the traditional kind, they are now longer and wider. The social evolution of the country changed the traditional welcoming model, transforming it into a space where to spend time. The “peninsula” model was thus born, created for the first time by Antonio Citterio in 1986, with the sofa called Sity, greatly appreciated at the time for its modular system, so much so that it was awarded the Compasso d’Oro in 1987. Sity represents, still today, a brave step forward in the research for a seating system: it is, in fact, characterised by flexible and detachable structures, that allow us to reorganise the complex scenario of our life. Later, in the 00s, designer Francesco Binfarè designs and realises one of Edra icons: Flap, an unusual kind of sofa, characterised by a padded surface of only 14cm, and by nine sinuous tilting elements, that can take different functions, from backrest to armrest, from headrest to seat, from footrest to leg support. This is called anatomical dynamism, which evolves to satisfy the owner’s desires.
Over time, with the advent of social media, TV has gradually lost its centrality and attractiveness inside the house, nonetheless the sofa has kept its leading role.
Nowadays the lockdown has accelerated something that was already slowly happening, and that is the transformation of a piece of furniture into a microcosm, a sort of room in itself, a versatile space, suitable for many different activities, a miniature complex architecture. Seats get deeper and wider, ready for a variety of different activities throughout the day, sectional and modular solutions to adjust the sofa to its many applications. Materials have changed as well: selected fabrics are softer and more comfortable, but also durable and easy to clean.
Following this evolution, the sofa is now complemented by integrated accessories, such as small tables, consolle, countertops, containers, armrests that become small bookcases: and all these accessories make the sofa truly “multitasking”.
Maybe in the future sofas will become a home inside the home, a burrow where to take shelter and feel safe… and now more than ever, when the outside world is so dangerous, we truly understand how important it is to feel protected.
architetto Nina Russo