in a series of images of the FLEXFORM ‘magister’ in the triennale di milano, gabriele basilico – a master of architectural and landscape photography – captures the powerful, elegant, and expressiveness of the sofa’s iconic design. created by antonio citterio and paolo nava in 1982, the sofa highlights the brand’s dedication to craftsmanship, distinctive yet diverse styling, and italian design overall. these characteristics make for an instantly beloved and desired product, one that is still available to this day.
the ‘magister‘ sofa was always destined for greatness; its name translates to maestro in italian and is derived from the latin magis, which etymologically means great. its concept developed from a desire to create a seating element in distinct contrast to FLEXFORM’s ‘divani di famiglia’ collection, which were shaped in forms reminiscent of using soft lightweight slipcovers. the company recognized the importance of extending and diversifying the range and so, began to produce sofas with very different features.
‘magister belongs to a time in my career when I was examining the experience of early italian rationalism, especially pre-rationalist architecture between the two world wars,’ explains antonio citterio. ‘the sofa can be converted to a day-bed through a mechanism in the backrest that allows it to fit next to the seat cushion, which is finished with typical mattress-style tufting.’
the result was a sofa with a very uncluttered, pure, sleek appearance that was yet still dense with artisanal details. these showcased the brand’s ability to craft designs that perfectly paired innovation with vast experience and tradition in classic upholstering. over the decades, the ‘magister’ exemplified their commitment to making products that transcends time and fashion. it is at home in any setting, residential or public, classically or contemporarily designed.
rising off the floor on sleek satin-finished metal feet, the ‘magister’ is distinctive with its elegantly tufted leather upholstery – although a non-tufted fabric version is available. the design replaces the buttons with a modern button-hole stitching method to create a fresher, more timeless image. its back also continues to create moments of innovation. an equally as distinctive perforated metal shelf transforms the sofa into a single bed, thanks to a simply yet ingenious mechanism.
their team chooses only the most prized parts of the leather
the leather is carefully inspected for any imperfections
flaws are circled with a special yellow pencil, flagging the parts to be avoided during the cutting phase
the leather is hand-punched
a special needle is used to thread by a slender cowhide cord through the holes by hand
a dedicated machine is prepared to fasten the metal button in place
buttons placed on the underside of the seat cushion are securely tightened and the extra length of cord is cut off
each leather cushion has its own special perforated 'FLEXFORM' logo that allows air to escape
the red FLEXFORM label is stitched to the leather upholstery
the metal insert is placed into the armrest structure of the sofa
the sofa structure is ready to be completed with the ingenious single bed mechanism
the metal feet are attached to the sofa structure
designers: antonio citterio and paolo nava
FLEXFORM (3 articles)
a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.
designed for thai brand masaya, the pieces embody the rhythm, movement and flow of chinese calligraphy painting.
as designboom celebrates 20 years online, we present a series of 'retro' videos, here spotlighting acclaimed graphic designer milton glaser.
are you knowledgeable about architecture, design, art, and technology? passionate about writing and digital media? then we want to hear from you!
the stadtfuchs blends ergonomic design, functionality and safety, resulting in an elastic rear-suspension that enables the bike to dampen any bump.