This Iconic Sectional from the 1970s Is Making a Comeback

published Jul 28, 2020
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Credit: B&B Italia

In 1970, Italian architect Mario Bellini designed the ultra-modern, and futuristic-for-its-time Camaleonda seating system—a modular puzzle of couches, chairs, daybeds, and ottomans that can be linked together in an endless array of configurations, or pulled apart for a more traditional seating arrangement. The design shot to fame after appearing in the Museum of Modern Art’s 1972 exhibition “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape,” and now the Camaleonda is making a comeback.

“I crossed two words: camaleonte, or chameleon, an extraordinary animal capable of adapting to its environment, and onda, or wave,” Bellini, now 85, tells Architectural Digest about his groundbreaking seating system. 

He came up with the design after being dissatisfied with the sofa designs of the early 1970s. “There were variants on historical typologies or radical, provocational, elitist forays into the future.” But none, Bellini thought, actually suited the way life at home was modernizing.

Now, thanks to modern furniture brand B&B Italia, the Camaleonda is yet again helping shape modern interior design, fifty years after its original debut. 

Available in an array of nature-inspired/’70s chic textile shades and leathers, the updated Camaleonda has remained unchanged in design. However, the polyurethane padding that gives the pieces their shape has been updated by the B&B Italia Research & Development team to make the sectional even more cloudlike and comfy.

Per the B&B Italia website, Bellini says of the Camaleonda, “Of all the objects I have designed, Camaleonda is perhaps the best in terms of its sense of freedom. There are infinite number of possible configurations.”

You can learn more about Bellini’s Camaleonda and find where to buy the updated version of the classic and timeless sectional over on B&B Italia’s site