Today is Singapore’s 47th Birthday, its our National Day! Happy Birthday Singapore! On this special day of my country, I shall blog about the piece of furniture that had been on the top of my acquiring list for my future home. To many, this piece of furniture may not even catch their eye. In fact, many different designs by this designer for this particular brand looks pretty similar to each other at the first sight. Truth to be told, it happened to me when I first get to know this brand and its brilliant Designer. I am talking about one of my favourite Master of Contemporary Designs, Antonio Citterio. Ah… There you go, it must be either B&B Italia or Maxalto Collections. Well, what other brands could I be talking about? The particular piece of furniture I am referring to is Antonio Citterio’s Sofa designs. Take a look at his range of Sofa designs, Charles, Ray, George, Frank or Harry. Don’t they look all that similar at first sight? You will find the differences only in their details. If you look close enough, you will notice their different legs, armrests, back rests, seat cushions and many other finer details. To non-design fans, you may cry “boring”. But to the design connoisseurs, you may like the subtlety of the design difference. As the saying goes, if something is not broken, don’t fix it. So, how can you improve a good design? Just make that subtle changes and throw in all the quality materials for that luxury. You could have guessed by now that I am going to talk about one of the sofas listed above. Yes, you are right, I will be talking about the B&B Italia Charles Sofa and this will be my longest post to date with the most number of pictures, courtesy of B&B Italia Website. 🙂
The original Charles Sofa was designed by the Master, Antonio Citterio back in 1997. It has a single seat cushion as one of its defining design language. The redesigned Charles Large 6 years later, in 2003, has a two seat cushion design and new sections added to the sofa system for a refresher. Other than that, the basic design remains largely unchanged. You may be wondering why this sofa had captivated me to such an extend that it tops my list. The Charles Sofa may look like a very normal piece of sofa to many of us. But it is that subtle design cues that captures me.
My favourite design language for the Charles Sofa is in its thin profile. If you look at the frame of the sofa, you will have noticed that it has a really thin frame. Even with its seat cushion in place, it is still that thin, unlike the thick base and seat cushions of other sofas. Next, move your eyes down to the legs of the sofa. You will only find L-Shaped aluminum legs in chrome finish at each corner of the sofa, holding the visually light frame and seat cushions. This leaves the base of the sofa open and free from any clutter, giving a light and floating feel to the sofa.
Now that I mention it, did you find that the thought that went into the sofa design is more complex than what it initially look to you? With this thin profile design, the Charles Sofa System frees up the limited floor space that small homes have and is visually light with the simple lines. In my opinion, the Charles Sofa is perfect for the Minimalist home if that is what you are looking for. For me, it is THE sofa I’m looking for.
With such a thin profile design, you would be forgiven for thinking that the sofa have to sacrifice comfort with its thin seat cushions and little space will be left in that thin sofa frame to suspend the person sitting on it. Of course, there is no way you can compare the comfort of very thickly cushioned sofas such as Vico Magistretti’s Cassina Maralunga Sofa. These thick sofas literally swallow you when you sit “in” it. Yes, you don’t sit “on” Maralunga Sofas, you sit “in” them. For the B&B Italia Charles Sofa, you sit “on” it and although it gives away some level of comfort with its thin seat cushions, it is by all means, still comfortable to sit on. The redesigned larger Charles Large Sofa in 2003 offers even deeper sitting options for the tall folks who find the original Charles sofa too shallow.
To me and the B&B Italia faithful, the Charles is a contemporary masterpiece created by a Master who had virtually help shaped B&B Italia’s design directions. We know how much trust B&B Italia have in Antonio Citterio when he was appointed the Director for Maxalto Collection. I know, I have the same faith and trust in Antonio Citterio’s designs. I want a Charles Sofa!