History lesson: Striking and sleek, Antonio Citterio’s 1983 Max sofa was an instant classic


Max Sofa, Anthonio Citterio, 1983
Max Sofa, Anthonio Citterio, 1983

It has been almost four decades since Antonio Citterio’s Max sofa came to be. Striking and sleek, the shapely piece has maintained its appeal ever since. 

More than a sofa, Max is a sculptural icon, its sinuous lines helping to upgrade the design from functional to masterful. Citterio is renowned for such works. His uncompromising style combines timeless shapes and high-quality materials as a rule. It also sticks to a pretty simple ethos: “I make things for myself, I don’t work with marketing instructions,” Citterio once told designboom. “If I won’t surround myself with these things, I don’t make them.” 

Born in Meda, Italy, in 1950, Citterio had established his own industrial design studio by the age of 22. He went on to collect a degree in architecture from Politecnico di Milano in 1975, which was followed by a meteoric rise in the industry. While he calls himself an architect, first and foremost, Citterio’s achievements in furniture design, as well as interior decor, have garnered wide and well-deserved acclaim. 

Photography: Gabriele Basilico, courtesy of Flexform

The Max sofa is one of a huge number of Citterio’s celebrated designs. Launched in 1983, it was first introduced with an original Op Art cover in black and white leather. This remains the iconic image of the cult product today, thanks in part to the compelling bird’s-eye view photograph taken by Gabriele Basilico (pictured, main), although it can be upholstered with different finishes and covers, including leather and fabric. 

The sofa’s lightweight tubular metal structure (available in chrome, satin, burnished, champagne or black chrome finish) adapts to the curved design, supporting the two padded parts: the seat cushion, which takes on a kidney-bean shape, and the long cylindrical back. 

Available at Studio Italia, Max is made by Flexform, the globally recognised Italian furniture company.




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