Bocca – how was a design icon born?

DESIGN
Bocca – how was a design icon born?
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The legendary mouth-shaped sofa created in the early 1970s in the United States is one of the most important symbols of modern design. 

Inspiration from a famous painter 

The most important cultural reference that is inseparable from the iconic Bocca sofa is the work of Salvador Dali. The Spanish artist, representing the Surrealist trend in art, in 1936 designed the Mae West Sofa, the prototype of the now-famous sofa. The inspiration for the unique sofa came from the lips of 1930s Hollywood actress Mae West. The star was known for such films as “Night After Night,” “She Done Him Wrong” and “I’m No Angel,” among others.

Salvador Dali was the first to create a unique portrait of the actress using everyday objects, such as curtains, fireplaces and wall paintings. After creating a portrait of the famous actress, the Spanish painter decided to create a prototype of a sofa in the shape of a mouth. This one became the inspiration for another artist, who created the still-famous Bocca Sofa. 

Legendary design 

The Spanish artist’s work was not revisited until 40 years later. In 1972, the idea of improving the mouth-shaped sofa was brought back by Italian designers from New York’s Studio 65. Franco Audrito was responsible for the design of the furniture, whose inspiration, in addition to Dali’s sofa, was the mouth of the world’s biggest movie star Marilyn Monroe. Hence the name of the first modern design: Marilyn Bocca.

The version created by the New York studio was definitely more practical than the Spanish artist’s work. The sofa was a full-fledged piece of furniture that could perform all its functions. In the production of the sofa of the years. 70 took part in the production of Salvador Dali himself, thanks to which this piece of furniture is the only sofa signed with the painter’s name. The exclusive distributor of the original sofa is the Spanish company BD Barcelona, and the Italian brand Gufram is responsible for the production of the Bocca sofa.

Contemporary use 

Over the years, the mouth-shaped sofa has gained iconic status, becoming not only a symbol of surrealist design, but also of modern design. Nowadays, sofas are available on the market in various colors, but the most popular and close to the original variant is the red Bocca sofa. A distinctive piece of furniture is a perfect piece of equipment for any interior that has a modernist character. Surrealistic accessories will help create a unique room. The original model can be purchased for about $ 8 thousand, and its direct distributor is a Spanish company. 

Many brands choose to create replicas or furniture inspired by the shape of the original design. Thus, in a budget solution, it is possible to purchase a Bocca-style sofa for a few thousand zlotys. Popular sofas have found their use in pop culture over the years, being used in many movies, TV series or music videos. The most famous places where the legendary sofa can be seen are the interiors of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the lobby of the Sanderson Hotel located in London.

main photo: unsplash.com/Brock Wegner

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