EDITORIAL by Cristina Morozzi
Nowadays the protagonist of the living room is the sofa which has a central role in our day-to-day life.
Once upon a time, the convivial area of the home was in front of the warm, bright light of the fireplace, especially in winter months. This was where families warmed up, did activities together, and spent time talking and socializing. But today, fireplaces have been replaced by another star of the living room: the sofa. And with TV having become an important staple in the home, couches have an even more central role in contemporary living.
Iconic designer Philippe Starck is also a skilled storyteller. When asked about the reason for his success – as he drew large audiences that filled sidewalks during his presentations at showrooms – he replied: “because I’ll happily chat with people”. Many of his ideas are collected in the volume Starck Explications, a book with pink leather binding and silver-edged pages that was published in 2003 on the occasion of his exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. He provides a detailed explanation of each of his designs, recounting a piece’s traditional use in everyday living as well as his own personal interpretation.
Regarding the sofa, he writes, “after the bed, it is one of the biggest objects in the house”. He also adds that: “it is a pity that such a large object has only one function. That’s why I invented a new concept of sofa, one for lazy work. There is nothing better than taking a nap to daydream, because that is the real way to work.” He continues, saying: “society does not need people in offices pretending to work. And that’s why I created a sofa that has attachments everywhere: shelves on the sides where you can place lamps, your computer and phone....
My idea of a sofa is a system that allows you to work while spending the day on the sofa. In the morning, a wife can write letters from the couch; in the early afternoon the children can watch television there. The husband can also work from home. On the backrest is a wider shelf where the children can do their homework. And at the end of the day, the whole family can sit down to watch a movie on television”. And because Starck isn’t one to shy away from provocation, he concludes by stating that the sofa can be a space for lovers, too.
The sofa, according to Starck, is – borrowing a definition from German philosopher Martin Heidegger (Building Dwelling Thinking) – a kind of existenzminimum where one can spend a good part of the day, alone, lying down, reading a good book, or talking with friends. Overall, according to Starck, a sofa is a versatile and multifunctional piece of furniture, a home within a home, where one can relax, converse, work, have lunch, breakfast and dinner, including in front of the TV with the whole family.