In 1970, when Vladimir Kagan, now considered a pioneer of modern furniture design, released his Serpentine sofa, he revolutionized furniture and ushered in a new era of round. The long, low, sinuous design eschewed all things square, straight and ordinary. Suddenly, furniture was sexy again.
The traffic-stopping seating is appearing in interiors from Los Angeles to Paris and everywhere in between, and we’re not angry about it. Below, find out how 12 top designers are working curvy couches into their spaces, then shop the newest such creations.
British interior designer Beata Heuman brought organic modernism to a flat in Holland Park, London via the grouping of a cream-colored round sofa with a Noguchi-style lantern, concentric rattan coffee table and jute rug. Heuman had the sofa custom made to her client’s specifications, but based her design on one by Federico Munari from the 1950s. The result is refreshingly relaxed and beautifully balanced.
Photo by Graham Atkins-Hughes
Kelly Wearstler has said she appreciates the “sense of exuberance” found in 1970s leather furniture and illustrated just that sentiment by adding a 1972 De Sede Non Stop sofa to this historic Hillcrest Estate. The sofa certainly does justice to its name and to the geometric patterns of the custom tribal-patterned rug.
Photo by Grey Crawford
To outfit her boho-chic Los Angeles bungalow, Tatem Kendrick of Studio Hus chose a classic Isamu Noguchi Cloud sofa and had no fear in re-covering it. “I started with the sofa and built around that. We upholstered it in these color-blocked hues — a gray mohair base and a dustier pink velvet. It’s just a really great sculptural sofa,” Kendrick told us.
Photo by Shade Degges
To add a counterpoint to an almost perfectly square living room in St. Helena, California, designer Katie Martinez added a velvety Oasis sofa by Coup D’Etat. The turquoise tone of the aptly named sofa creates an oasis in an otherwise desert-hued space, with a natural Moroccan rug and Swan chairs by Arne Jacobsen. As for practical measures, Martinez points out, “The windows come down to the floor, and the round sofa allows for some flow in front of them.”
Photo by Drew Kelly
When searching for the right piece for the 2016 edition of AD Interiors at the Musée de la Monnaie in Paris, Raphael Navot settled on the ethereal Moon sofa by Domeau & Pérès. He says: “The piece was conceived especially for the museum room, positioned with its back to the window in order to orient the viewer towards the bronze mould collection of Maison Charles.
“Similar to the traditional French causeuse of the petit salon, it is designed for an intimate hangout or a laid back conversation,” he adds. The piece has been manufactured in Paris since last year and is only now available in the U.S. at Les Atelier Courbet.
Photo by Vincent Leroux
DHD customized this Vladimir Kagan Shorty sofa to create visual fluidity in this elegant and enormous parlor in a historical Brooklyn townhouse. Designer Steffani Aarons points out: “It’s a perfect piece to float in a room as the curves allow for easy flow around the room and ideal when you need to sit additional people. It’s such a sculptural piece, with the back being just as gorgeous as the front.”
Photo by Guillaume Gaudet
Josh McLaughlin from D’Apostrophe placed a pair of Vladimir Kagan Free Form sofas on either side of two curvy mirrored cocktail tables by Silas Seandel to create an intimate conversation space without, as he sees it, “interpreting any spatial boundaries typically created with a linear sofa. It was a sleek minimal design choice to allow for an open space.”
Photo by Thomas Loof
Catherine Connelly at Northwick Design found this sculptural vintage Giò Ponti sofa at auction and decided to incorporate it into this stately West London living room “The room lends itself to the unusual shape as it permits movement and flow onto the beautiful terrace through any of the three French windows behind,” Connelly says. It looks luxurious for lounging on as well!
Photo by C. Connolly
Beyond this already curvaceous London living room lies three reception rooms linked by archways, which Jo LeGleud, cofounder of Maddux Creative, admits was quite “tricky to furnish.” The firm decided to embrace the curves and turned to, you guessed it, Vladimir Kagan for a bespoke sofa, which, as LeGleud points out, “responds to the architectural details of the series of spaces.”
Photo by Michael Sinclair
If you see sacred geometry in the design of this London penthouse by Waldo Works Studio, it’s not by mistake. According to Waldo founder Tom Bartlett, the decision was made in order to, “honor the strong geometric architecture of Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, the undulating River Thames below, the historic lifeline for London and the vast sky surround.”
About the furnishings, he says: “Pale crescent-moon sofas in tweed by Andrée Putman for ECART look out over the vast view, centered on a Waldo Works incised-slate coffee table.”
Photo by Ruy Teixeira
Kay Kollar sourced this 1940s Edward Wormley sofa from the legendary collector and tastemaker Alan Moss when he still owned his self-titled gallery on Lafayette Street in New York. She used the sofa’s curvy silhouette and vibrant color palette to help, as she puts it, “balance the strong rectilinear nature of the room’s architecture and to visually push beyond its bounds.”
Photo by Richard Powers
When it came to finding the perfect furnishings for a lofty Lower Manhattan living room, designer Amy Lau turned to the king of curved sofas: Vladimir Kagan. The two worked closely together to refine the design. In the end Vladi, as she calls him, created this bespoke wood-trimmed, two-sided sofa, which offers a little intimacy in the soaring space.
Photo by Björn Wallander