First unveiled to the public in 1970, the Camaleonda sofa has passed through 5 decades of design history and emerged as an icon of the medium. Designed by Mario Bellini, the modular sofa helped shape and define the aesthetic and form of an entire era of interior design.
A mainstay in many international design museums as well as countless film-sets, the Camaleonda received a major upgrade last year, and still looks and functions as elegantly as ever. Thanks to Space Furniture, the upgraded Camaleonda is now available to Australian designers and design lovers.
B&B Italia’s research and development team worked with original designer Mario Bellini to reimagine the design classic, and the result is the perfect synthesis of design and architecture that characterises Bellini’s work, and has been imbued with the sustainability that drives B&B Italia.
“At the beginning of the 1970s, upholstered furniture for the home had stagnated into the tired traditional stereotypes and radical-provocative elitist forays into the future that, although stimulating, rarely challenged the relationship between the evolution of new patterns of behaviour in the home and the types of furniture available on the market at the time” says Bellini of his intentions on the original design.
Camaleonda’s design sees a sofa intended as an architectural element; capable of transforming the landscape of the space it inhabits. Knowing that our interior spaces are landscapes that are neither immobile nor permanent, the modular, chameleon-like nature of the sofa invites a sense of transformation and evolution as our spaces change.
The 2020 relaunch preserves the elements that made it a design classic – including the 90x90cm seat module, together with the backrest and armrest. These faithful to the original design elements were then used as inspiration for new changes for the sofa.
The generous polyurethane padding that forms the characteristic capitonné design remains unchanged, still manufactured with the innovative system of cables, hooks and rings created by Bellini in 1970. Naturally, the modules can be unhooked and recombined at will, as Bellini intended with his original design, allowing for the sofa to adapt to evolving tastes and the dynamic needs of those using it.
This modularity gives the Camaleonda a sort of enormous pixel quality in aesthetics. By hooking and unhooking seats, backrests and armrests, the sofa can evolve and change as many times as desired, a concept which is dear to Mario Bellini: “Of all the objects I have designed, Camaleonda is perhaps the best in terms of its sense of freedom. There are an infinite number of possible configurations.”
The interior and manufacturing is where the 2020 changes really shine. New padding designed by B&B Italia’s Research & Development Centre makes the sofa even more comfortable. The marriage of the rigorous geometry of the body of the sofa, and the welcoming roundness of the padding is a juxtaposition that invites deep relaxation.
While a 50 year relaunch, this new edition of the Camaleonda does not look to the past, but to the future, especially on matters of sustainability.
The sandwich-like structure of Camaleonda is made up of recycled or recyclable materials, while the seat, backrest and armrests and bases are made of wooden panels. The sofa itself rests on the floor on a series of Forest Stewardship Council certified beech wood feet.
The padding of the seat, backrests and armrests are made of polyurethane in various levels of density and firmness, which are protected by a removable cover made of Dacron – a synthetic fabric that is entirely made of recycled PET, the same material used to manufacture plastic water bottles.
Available in Australia through Space Furniture, the Camaleonda can be upholstered with B&B Italia’s entire textile and leather collection, allowing for another variable in the multitude of possible combinations.