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Marenco Sofa: The fascinating story behind the famous ‘cloud’ couch

The Marenco sofa’s unique design and wide modularity mean it has been at the forefront of modern furniture design since the 1970s.

At the height of his success, Italian designer Mario Marenco had created exhibition stands for Alfa Romeo, designed watches for Ferrari and starred on TV as an actor and humorist. But among his many varied careers and successes, his legacy lives on in one of his most recognised designs; the Marenco armchair and sofa collection for Arflex.

Born in 1933, Marenco studied architecture in Naples before opening his own architecture atelier, DEWG Studio in Rome, where he specialised in community buildings. By the 1970s, Marenco was well on his way as an established designer, working with notable brands including Arflex, Artemide, B&B and Poltrona Frau. It’s during this time that he dreamt up the Marenco sofa.

At first glance, the sofa’s eight oversized, cloud-like cushions appear almost comically comfortable. But the beauty of Marenco’s groundbreaking furniture piece lies in the innovative design. The seat and armrest cushions are built into a metal frame, creating the perfect balance of rigidity, resistance and comfort when seated on the sofa.

Relaunched in 2018 by Arflex and available at Studio Italia, the iconic sofa has been given an even more sumptuous design using contemporary production methods. Every inch of the Arflex Marenco sofa has been carefully covered and padded to elevate the feeling of softness and comfort, while the base of multi-plywood and fibre cover maintains strength and rigidity. In this relaunched version, the luxurious covers are fully removable, delivering modern flexibility and functionality.

Five decades on and Marenco’s pioneering collection has been internationally recognised in the history halls of furniture design, a reputation cemented by his collaboration with Arflex. Founded by a group of technicians and architects in 1947, Arflex has been at the forefront of modern furniture design since its inception, and Marenco’s design is an embodiment of that marriage of innovation, experimentation and elegance.

The Marenco Sofa is available at Studio Italia, studioitalia.co.nz

Time to be swayed: The pandemic has everyone wanting rocking chairs

Gently rocking back and forth speaks to something deep inside us, sending us back to the simpler times of childhood, perched on a swing at the playground or your parent’s lap.

And so in these stressful times, perhaps it’s no wonder that people are obsessed with rocking furniture to help them unwind.

The Corso Outdoor Lounge Chair by Coco Republic.

According to a trends analysis by a German furniture industry group, rocking chairs, hanging chairs, hammocks and porch swings are what everyone is rushing to buy this year.

“These pieces offer people a comfortable place to get away from it all, where they relax,” says industry spokeswoman Christine Scharrenbroch. “Beyond that, fond memories of playing on the swings as a child may also play a role.”

Rocking chair with Sonnblick fabric by Atelier.

These furniture pieces convey playfulness and lightness – similar to the feeling of being on vacation. Hammocks are especially associated with kicking one’s feet up somewhere new.

But hanging chairs are becoming increasingly more popular as well, says the industry group, which describes them as being especially eye-catching. Such chairs either dangle in a frame or are attached to a tree, balcony ceiling or patio roof.

Dpa