2017 is the Year of the Sofa — Dispatches from the Front Lines of Design


In my ramble through this year’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF — basically the design world’s answer to a runway show), I noticed something unusual: there were a lot of really, really great sofas. Usually the chair is the darling of the design world, presenting myriad ways to iterate. The sofa is a bit more of a challenge: it’s bigger, and because people think of it as a bit more of a practical piece, it needs to take into account comfort as well. But this year’s designers rose to the occasion, creating sofas that were strikingly beautiful, and even, dare I say, comfortable. (I tried a few.) Here are 10 of my favorites.

Owing to the current mania for millennial pink, I expected to see a lot of pink at the show, but it quickly became clear that the color of the moment, at least for sofas, is green. This emerald green stunner, spotted in the SUITE NY booth, is Nina Jobs’ Kvilt, in velvet, the fabric of the moment.

I spotted quite a few variations on the modular sofa at this year’s show, including the Homework sofa, an offering of Australian maker Les Basic, whose versatility and compact form would be particularly nice in a small space.

From perpetual Apartment Therapy favorite Ercol comes this little settee with a beautiful beechwood frame, which somehow manages to be both delicate and cozy at the same time. It’s from the appropriately named Nest series by Paola Navone, which also includes a larger version of this sofa. It’s perfect for a room where you want to float the sofa, since the back is just as beautiful as the front (something that’s true for a lot of these designs).

At SCP I finally spotted the pink sofa I’d been expecting to see all along — in a beautiful, inviting velvet.

The curvy Lagarto sectional sofa, from iSi mar, reminds me of those fantastic round sofas you used to see in ’50s living rooms — but for your outdoor space.

Harvey Probber’s Deep Tuft sofa, available at M2L, isn’t a new design — it dates back to 1972 — but it still feels as modern as ever, and it was the most comfortable of all the sofas I tried at ICFF. (Seriously, this thing is really comfortable.) And even if you decide not to do a massive, sprawling configuration like the one they had laid out on the floor, this modular sofa still presents lots of possibilities.

Menu Design Shop brings Scandinavian designs to North America, including this Tailor sofa, which is equal parts furniture and sculpture. Honestly, the back of this one is so pretty that it would seem like a shame not to float it away from the wall.

The laces that form the back of this sofa by Cane-Line are a particularly unique detail — and, as it turns out, this sofa is designed to be used outdoors, so it can stand up to the elements.

From Swedish maker Blå Station comes Bob, the modular sofa to end all modular sofas. Each of the bumps is a separate section, which means that the possible configurations are almost endless. You can create right angles, curves, pretty much anything you can imagine — and the whole thing is held together by magnets. (There’s a video on their site here.)

Doesn’t this basket sofa from Nau just look so cozy? It’s called ‘Bower‘, which seems particularly appropriate, as it looks like the perfect place to be nestled with someone you love.

Which of these is your favorite?

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