As publishers, we’re constantly asked for advice on what couch to buy. And of course, we like to give an opinion. The blob sofa has arrived! Maybe you should put a skirt on? The problem is, there is no one size fits all when it comes to sofas. Finding the right balance between beauty and the ability to relax, not to mention the right dimensions for any less than ordinary space, is no easy task. Industry insiders have long chosen the personalized route, tweaking timeless designs to meet the unique needs of their customers. But recently, a new look has appeared in living rooms: built-in sofas fully integrated into the room.
“A built-in sofa works especially well in a living room, TV room, or family room,” says AD100 architect Barbara Bestor, who used the style – typically made from plywood with a simple low cushion – around the house. Malibu by Beastie Boy Mike D. as well as the canteen in his own LA office. “We always try to make sure it complements the room rather than overwhelming it.” (She actually linked an inline item to a blob instead of Mike D, for reference.)
Other design professionals followed suit. Interior designer Jessica Helgerson and architect Yianni Doulis have ordered a pair of built-in elements for the large room in their family home outside of Portland. Giancarlo Valle tucked away a comfy sectional sofa in a tiny second bedroom in a downtown New York City apartment. And when artist Daniel Arsham took over a 1971 Hamptons home by architect Norman Jaffe, built-in cedar furniture was part of the allure. He did tweak some things though, deepening the couch and lowering it two inches “so the four of us could lay on it and watch. Star wars. “
Built-in sofas, of course, appeared throughout the 20th century, especially in projects like Frank Lloyd Wright, John Lautner, and Richard Neutra, among others, who viewed built-in elements as a form of efficiency. Today’s most successful versions follow a similar philosophy.