This piece of furniture represents Italian design after the 50s. It’s the era of the country’s economic boom when the industry is progressing, and factories are spreading. People (even in Italy) were rethinking their ideas of home, and they liked showing off their new wealth with everyday objects. During this time, one of the most successful and changing sectors was the design and anything related to furniture.
Modernists and concept designers like Vico Magistretti kept an eye on traditional Italian design, but their perspective was towards the future. They looked at typical objects like chairs, but they did it through the eyes of modern technology and materials. The Maralunga sofa represents modernism with its materials, technology, and shapes. Magistretti designed it in 1973, and he used the best industrial materials of his time.
In this creation, Magistretti chose a structure in steel for a set of sofa and armchair. The supporting bases are in black plastic, and they are padded in polyurethane foam, comfortable and durable. Furthermore, the padding also features dacron fiberfill and polyester wadding. In particular, dacron fiberfill is a soft material, also used as a wrap for foam cushions. The seats feature the same materials, which adapt to a person’s body. Both the Maralunga sofa and the matching armchair feature a covering in either leather or fabric.
And here’s the real innovation of this unique couch. The Italian designer gave buyers a choice. People could choose between a high or small headrest, which is also a modular characteristic of this sofa. Thanks to an insert, this part of the sofa is adaptable and easy to regulate. It’s a bicycle chain that allows the headrest to go higher or lower, depending on the person’s preferences. This new system was first used in design and furniture in 1985. While the Maralunga sofa dates back to 1973, later models featured the bicycle chain system and technique.
The History of It
Magistretti collaborated with the Italian design company Cassina on many different projects, like the successful Carimate chair during his long career. The Maralunga sofa is one of them, born from a simple drawing. From there, the Italian creator had the simple idea of making a mobile and adaptable cushion, a concept Cassina loved. The final result included a set with an armchair and a pouf. Each of these pieces is durable, resistant, and elegant in its conception.
The Maralunga sofa features the main characteristic of Magistretti’s works: functionality. This piece of furniture had to adapt to respond to people’s needs and everyday preferences. It’s not a formal couch, but a couch that fits everywhere, in every space, style, and situation. Of course, this sofa achieved its purpose. People and the design industry loved it, so much so that it won the Compasso d’Oro in 1979.
It’s still successful since a reissue in 2014 featured seams along with the profile of the cushions, always produced by Cassina. It’s a contemporary reissue, but it’s still true to the original model. Even decades later, Cassina believes in the power and beauty of the Maralunga sofa. It represents the best made in Italy, which still features the traditional bicycle chain. This reissue of the couch celebrated the original Maralunga sofa, a symbol of Magistretti’s concept design.
A true success, like anything that both Magistretti and Cassina did. In fact, the Italian company collaborated with the best and most famous representatives of Italian design of the time, such as Ico Parisi, Mario Bellini, Afra and Tobia Scarpa, and Gianfranco Frattini. The results of these collaborations are some of the best and most famous creations of Italian design, both functional and stylish.