The Bocca Lips Sofa by Gufram
There are very few icons in the world of modern classic furniture that are as sensuous and flamboyant as the Bocca Lips Sofa by Gufram, Italy. Recognized and celebrated the world over, the Bocca Lips Sofa is in a class all by itself, and can be found in posh restaurants, hotels, museums and private million-dollar homes everywhere. But very few people know the origins of these famous red lips, nor the gilded history from where this sofa came from.
HISTORY OF THE BOCCA LIPS SOFA
The original sofa dates back to 1935 when it was first featured in Spanish artist Salvador Dali’s famous painting. Influenced by the Surrealist and Dada movements, Dali’s fascination with the 1930’s actress Mae West sparked the creation of his painting entitled, The Face of Mae West, in which he depicted the actress’ lips with the voluptuous sofa. Fellow surrealist artist and patron Edward James, who was impressed by Dali’s painting, commissioned him in 1936 to bring the Mae West Lips Sofa to life. Made of wood and satin, the sofa’s curvaceous design was shaped after the legendary actress’ lips and now resides at the Brighton and Hove Museum in England. Since then the Mae West Lips Sofa has been distinguished as the most famous object in the history of Surrealism.
Left: The Face of Mae West by Salvador Dali. Right: The Mae West Lips Sofa by Salvador Dali
AN EMBLEM OF MODERN FURNITURE DESIGN
Over the years the sofa’s celebrity status brought on a number of replications and has been called various names. It wasn’t until 1970 when Studio 65 designed the Bocca Lips Sofa for Gufram, Italy as an homage to Dali’s original. Instead of Mae West however, the Bocca Lips Sofa takes inspiration from 1950’s actress Marilyn Monroe and is the version we’re used to seeing today. Elegant and feminine, this sumptuous sofa is now available in several versions. A bright fuchsia (Pink Lady) and a pierced black (Dark Lady) became available in 2008, and a limited gold edition (Boccadoro) commemorated Gufram’s 50th Anniversary in 2016.
Left: Actress Sharon Stone lays down as she auctions off a special and unique edition of the famous sofa, as reinterpreted by artist Letizia Cariello. Right: Supermodel Heidi Klum strikes a pose while seated on the Bocca Lips Sofa.
As an iconic symbol of contemporary art and modern furniture design, the Bocca Lips Sofa now can be seen in various permanent museum collections throughout the world, including the Louvre in Paris and MoMA in New York.
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