The famous red lips sofa design has become ubiquitous; recognised all over the world and found in numerous hotels, restaurants, museums and galleries. But how many people know the history behind it? We decided to dig a little deeper…
The original Bocca Sofa dates back to 1936 when it was designed by Salvador Dalí. Influenced by the Dada and Surrealist movements, Dalí based the sofa design on the lips of Mae West, an American actress during the 1930s. He not only designed a sofa based on her lips but also a whole room that represented her entire body.
The sofa has had a number of names over the years – first the Sofa Mae West and later the Bocca Sofa, the Lips Sofa or the Marilyn Bocca Sofa.
The version we are used to seeing today was designed by Studio 65 for Gufram Italy in 1972. It was based on the lips of Marilyn Monroe and was created as a tribute to Dalí.
Today, the Bocca Sofa is considered an emblem of contemporary art and an icon of modern furniture design. It is included in the permanent collection of New York’s MoMA, Paris’ Louvre, Milan’s Permanent Design Collection and Denver’s Museum of Modern Art. You can also see it in the foyer of the Sanderson London – a hotel designed by Philippe Starck.
The latest version of this mythical sofa is La Bocca and was created by Bertrand Lavier in 2006. Lavier collaborated with the ‘Manufacture nationale de Sèvres’, a French porcelain company, for an exhibition at the Louvres Museum in Paris to create a porcelain version of the sofa that combined both the tradition of Sèvres and the innovation of Dalí.
As such an iconic and sensual design, it is set to remain a conversation piece for years to come.
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