Soriana lounge chair is low and soft and invites the sitter to sink in. Its peculiar feature is the external chromed steel cage. It gives a shape to the otherwise unformed design.
Soriana project features:
a lounge chair
a chaise longue
a two-seater sofa
a three-seater sofa
The padding of Soriana is made of polyurethane foam and Dacron fiberfill, upholstered with wool or leather and enveloped by a clamp made of chromed steel. Two parts compose the external cage. Two steel plates link them with the basis. Then, two covered buttons on the sides of the backrest link the coating with the external support elements. Furthermore, two covered buttons placed on the front of the backrest tighten the upholstery to improve the shape. This is possible since a wire links them with two plastic supports embedded in the back of the clamp.
In the same way, there are four covered buttons on the seat linked with the basis. The two-seater sofa presents, likewise, two clamps. Moreover, the three-seater one shows three clamps. The base is made of black lacquered beech. Close to the front of the basis, there is the Cassina paper mark.
Moreover, the lounge chair and the chaise longue present two rear plastic feet and two frontal spheric wheels, the ottoman four spheric wheels, and the sofas just plastic feet.
At first, Soriana was available with woolen or leather upholstery. Afterward, Cassina presented velvet and Alcantara versions.
Afra and Tobia Scarpa designed Soriana in 1969 for the Italian company Figli di Amedeo Cassina, after the great success of 924 lounge chair, 121 chairs, and Ciprea armchair.
In that years, the significant innovations in the molding techniques of polyurethane foam introduced new ways of thinking about sofas.
So, the idea that led to Soriana was to wrap a bunch of wool with a cloth to create a big bundle, giving it support and a shape (formless) with an external steel clamp grabbing it. The basis is a tiny wooden slab.
At first, Afra and Tobia Scarpa designed a lounge chair. Afterward, they extended the project to a whole range of seating units.
In 1970, Soriana won the prestigious Compasso d’Oro prize at the Milan Triennale for the “complexity of the image achieved with construction and technical means of remarkable simplicity and consistency.”
So, the project gained great notoriety among design enthusiasts.
Soriana soon became an icon, and its style inspired many other designers.
Even Cassina, in 1970, presented another project reminding Soriana: Sesann by Gianfranco Frattini.
The project included an armchair, a two-seater, and a three-seater sofa, and a coffee table.
Its standout feature is still an external chrome steel structure that gives the polyurethane foam padding a shape.
The most significant difference with Soriana was the presence of armrests.
Furthermore, it lacks buttons tightening the upholstery, so the design is more amorphous.
Moreover, its seat is less deep than Soriana’s one.
Cassina featured Sesann in its catalog in the same years of Soriana. It was cheaper than the well-known Afra and Tobia Scarpa masterpiece.
Sesann was available with soft leather, cotton, or velvet upholstery. Its covering quality was lower than the Soriana’s one.
Cassina stopped producing Soriana in 1980, so now it is possible to find just vintage pieces.
In the last years, the return of the Italian midcentury trend gave Soriana lounge chair a new success, and interior designers from all over the world are going crazy to catch the last pieces around.