The mellow, rhythmic interplay of surf and sand feels naturally calibrated to relax us. The modular, low-slung Surf sofa, designed by Toronto- and New York City–based design firm Yabu Pushelberg for Italian manufacturer Molteni&C, channels that inherent dynamic.
Like its namesake, Surf doesn’t retain a rigid, constant shape. With central, chaise, corner, island and terminal elements — the longest of which is just two metres — it adapts to its setting and can be easily configured to suit residential or commercial purposes. Each juncture maintains a smooth, contoured silhouette rather than creating a distinct visual break.
Available in linen, leather and other well-wearing upholstery, it has a defined form, but straight lines are almost entirely absent. And with a minimum of visible stitching, it has the subdued (albeit powerful) appearance of an incoming swell.
Of course, the seashore can also be a place of recreation and lively socializing. From the outset of the design process, Yabu Pushelberg envisioned the progression of a housewarming party. Early on, guests simply take a seat. Later, when more arrive, the role of the sofa changes. People approach it from all angles; they sit, perch and lean on it. The curved back — a gentle cantilever supported by an unseen sturdy metal frame — caters to guests’ utilitarian impulses. People define how Surf is used, its shape only suggesting how best to interact with it.
In its ergonomic curves, generous cushioning and multi-faceted form, Surf feels less like a manufactured object than one that has been shaped by environmental phenomena — a testament to what skilled designers can accomplish when they let nature take its course.
Designer Yabu Pushelberg, Toronto, Canada and New York City, U.S. Manufacturer Molteni&C, Giussano, Italy
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