ISSUE 81  |  Best of Architecture

5 Favorites: The Ultimate Architect-Designed Sofa

July 16, 2013 5:00 PM

BY Julie Carlson

Is the B & B Italia Charles Sofa the ultimate modernist sofa? Some of our favorite spaces feature the Antonio Citterio-designed classic, which can be configured in a variety of ways (sectional included) and is equally at home in a modern or traditional setting.

Introduced in 1997, the Charles was immediately embraced by architects, designers, and modernist-leaning design aficionados. What’s the secret to its success? With its tubular steel internal frame, it’s durable. And despite its sleek profile, it’s comfortable (the down back cushions balance the somewhat more firm foam seat). It’s flexibility is a plus, too: it’s available in a number of seating options including corner, linear, and chaise elements. But it’s the perfectly proportioned profile–it’s so discreetly designed it seems undesigned–and the way it floats on Citterio’s distinctive cast aluminum foot detail that makes the Charles so universally appealing.


 Above: In her San Francisco Victorian row hourse, Michelle Chan opted for for child-friendly dark gray wool upholstery for her Charles sofa and layered vintage shearling pillows in white and black to add texture and contrast. To see more, go to Living in Black and White, SF Style.

Above: Remodelista NYC editor Francesca chose the Charles Sofa, with its die-cast aluminum legs, for its clean lines and classic profile.

Above: The understated, rustic home of Finnish designer Ulla Koskinen. Photo by Morten Holtum via Share Design


Above: From the rear, the sofa cuts a crisp profile and works well with a sofa table, as in this South Yarra, Australia, house by Carr Design Group.

Above: In the Dialogue House in Phoenix, Arizona, by architect Wendell Burnette, a Charles sofa anchors the living area unobtrusively. Photo by Dean Kauffman for Dwell