The Charles Sofa from B&B Italia

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In the annals of good shelter porn, the Charles sofa has an assured role. Totally Italian, with a generous shape, slim silhouette and a bit hard on your ass, this sofa has become a design classic since it was first introduced by Antonio Citterio in 1997. We've bought a bunch for clients and it's been knocked off dozens of times...

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We first saw this in its large version (introduced in 2003) in a New York Magazine article about a HUGE white apartment with views over the city. It looked like a frickin' trampoline it was so big and you could just imaging curling up and sleeping for days.

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In practice, we've found that while the looks are stunning, the hard cushion seat leaves people a little conflicted. When New Yorker's buy a sofa, they generally want a nice soft landing pad and a cozy cushion underneath their toosh. No luck here. The foam cushion will keep you on your toes, though you can supplement the deep seating with lots of soft fluffy pillows to balance the firmness that surrounds you.

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The Charles is fully modular and lots of combinations can be made of its regular and it's "LARGE" version. Here's what B&B say:

High seat modularity starting with sixteen elements per type and different sizes - this is the concept behind Charles. Linear and corner compositions are developed with these elements, particularly with chaise longue end units. Peninsula-style compositions can be beautifully arranged in the centre of room.

Charles Sofa from B&B Italia

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.