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After 50 years, the Sleeping Beauty – Camaleodon Sofa has officially dominated social media with its great comeback!
Born in 1935, Bellini is an icon of the MCM industry, the designer is globally recognized for his works and has received a number of most prestigious awards, especially being the Compass Award eight times winner and honored as one of the preeminent collections at the New York The Museum of Modern Art.
His continuous works ranging from art to interior design to architecture have been exhibited over the years, mostly in Italy and the States. To name some of his brilliant projects: the Portello Trade Fair district in Milan, the Villa Erba Exhibition and Convention Centre in Cernobbio (Como), the Tokyo Design Centre in Japan, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, the Department of Islamic Art at the Louvre in Paris, etc.
Mario Bellini studied at Polytechnic University of Milan and graduated in 1959 and established his architecture company a year after. It was at this time that he also began working beyond architecture, first for Olivetti, a cocoon company manufacturing business products, where he worked as a chief industrial design consultant for almost 30 years.
His electronic design work also included cameras for Fuji, audio devices for Yamaha, and televisions for Brionvega. The architect then moved on to cars, serving as a design consultant for Renault and designing the interior of the 1980 Lancia Trevi for Fiat. Over the past 70 years, Bellini designed porcelain for Rosenthal; lamps for Artemide, Erco, and FLOS; office furniture for Vitra; and sofa sets and more for Kartell, Natuzzi, B&B Italia, and Cassina, to name a few.
Sleeping Beauty – Camaleonda Sofa
To most of us in the social media eras, the Camaleonda sofa is definitely the most eye-catching, Instagrammable sofa (hands down who were about to disagree). It was originally designed for Cassina in the late 70s. The most alluring feature of this sofa is the fluffy cubes stretched over and zipped on a simple steel frame. The design is later on updated with more sustainable materials such as velvet and boucle and many other options.
It was first introduced to the market in the 1972 MoMA show “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape”, where it made an instant impression. Like with other designs, Mario Bellini considered this sofa to be an architectural aspect, its customizability and alterable nature the basis of its enduring. For those who are curious about the name Camaleonda, it’s made up of two words: cha is a name I invented by mixing two words: camaleonte and onda, indicating shapes and functions of the item as the designer said: “Of all the objects I have designed, Camaleonda is perhaps the best in terms of its sense of freedom”.
Despite its remarkable introduction, the production stopped shortly after 8 years in 1978. And only until 2020, 50 years after its first debut, the Bellini Sofa is making a comeback, literally on all channels from social media to e-news to magazines and a lot of Youtube videos.
The fundamental characteristic of Camaleonda is its unlimited modularity, a geometric pattern that allows each element to become a sort of enormous pixel through which to define your home environment. By hooking and unhooking seats, backrests, and armrests, you can enjoy the luxury of changing your mind as many times as you desire, moving and redesigning the space. We all love how customizable this sofa is with its awe-inspiring puffed cushions, seductive low profile, and almost endless possibilities to configure different pieces.
The padding has been thoroughly updated by the B&B Italia Research & Development Centre, making it even more comfortable than the original version. Thus the magical balance between the rigorous geometry of the square and the welcoming of the roundness.
Environmentally Friendly and Completeness
The comeback edition of the Camaleonda continues its value and timelessness from its design, with the vision of a sustainable product yet still keeps the most characteristic aesthetics.
The way it is configured remains unchanged, while the composition of the interior has been completely redesigned with no room for nostalgia. “When I was asked to update Camaleonda, it was immediately clear to me that I should never or would never be able to do anything. Change the shape? No, the way it was intended is as good today as it was then. Change the materials? Yes, and that’s why I had a conversation with a company that is a leader in terms of its ability to transform a piece of furniture into a sustainable product.”
The versions in the 70s and the ones we are seeing nowadays both form rounded modules of fabric-covered polyurethane, cleverly connected to one another with a simple system of carabiners, rings, and cables to be unhooked and recombined. The most complimentary feature of the new version is that the sofa uses recyclable materials, from recycled PET to stainless steel, brass, and solid beechwood, with waste reduced to an absolute minimum and with a minimal impact on the environment.
The padding of the seat, the backrest, and the armrests are made of polyurethane in various levels of density and firmness. The various layers generate empty spaces or pockets designed to create a comfortable spring effect. The padding is protected by a removable cover made of Dacron, a synthetic fabric that is entirely made of recycled PET, the same material used to manufacture plastic water bottles.
The Bellini sofa composition is made of five modular pieces, three large sections with no arms and backs and two smaller sections with no arms and no backs which can be used as separate seating pieces or ottomans. Versatile, comfortable, and lounging dream, the Camaleonda has been lately featured in many design magazines and embellished the homes of several celebrities and designers.
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