In its day, Kagan’s 1950 curved Serpentine sofa was a revolution. Its undulating lines contrasted the conventional designs of the time and encouraged a centre-stage position – a brainwave of Kagan’s specially for his clients who had “major art” collections and needed to see pieces from all angles.
Of the game-changing shape, the designer told PaperCity magazine, “A curved shape makes more sense so that you’re not sitting like birds on a wire, lined up. People like to sit out in the open, away from the wall. A sofa should float in space, like interior landscaping.”
Now, almost seven decades later, its place in the little black book of the world’s greatest designers is permanently secured; its desirability, naturally, amplified by so many years of success.
These interior designs showcase the power the curved sofa (or one of its inspired progeny) still has in 21st century design.
1. Colour Pop
Vibrant tangerine upholstery transforms the original Serpentine of a fresh Greenwich Village living room by B. A. Torrey, below (photo by Patrick Cline). Principal Andrew’s bold choice of such a hue makes complete sense in retrospect alongside a sunny, aerial beachfront photograph and a powdery white backdrop. In keeping with the retro vibe, a vintage Dakota Jackson Screw coffee table and Gabriel Scott side tables serve two shallow button-tufted armchairs.
Image Credit: Vladimir Kagan Design Group
2. Sophisticated Take
Proving that its playful lines can also translate to absolute sophistication, this elegant curved sofa elevates a formal reception room by 1508 London. Its creamy upholstery works perfectly with golden cushions, a lustrous lattice carpet and tracery-like glass-topped table. A lopsided Lollipop Porta Romana chandelier hangs overhead.
Image Credit: 1508 London
3. Soft Lines
Soft meets industrial in a contemporary Notting Hill scheme by Spinocchia Freund. This custom design – realised in a dreamy air blue – feels even more glamorous when combined with a metallic coast-outline coffee table and buttery yellow upholstered swivel stools.
4. Iconic Face-off
As the main reception room of an ocean-front Bahamian property, this room required some furniture heavyweights. Finchatton‘s Design Director Jiin Kim-Inoue surrounded a circular Tai Ping rug with two Serpentine sofas which alluded to “the curved shapes of the ocean waves”. “Since the room is already an unusual shape, we didn’t want to introduce too many geometries,” Jiin explains, “so we kept the circular shape for the main furniture group.
Image Credit: Finchatton
5. Penthouse Perfect
Spinocchia Freund gives this double height, central London penthouse the custom treatment with this bespoke curved sofa (as well as a bespoke coffee table and armchairs). The stepped design adds a modern dimension to the silhouette whilst a subtle starburst pattern trims the base.
6. Triple Threat
A 2013 custom Vladimir Kagan design for Elias Associates is the nucleus of this neo-Mid-century modern living room. Contrasting fabrics and colours (boucle with suede; light with dark), the unique plasmatic design features a tri-part configuration which offers a multitude of seating without interrupting the flow of the space with individual punctuations. Sebastien Herkner tables hug the sofa’s concave lines perfectly.
Image Credit: Vladimir Kagan/Photography: Nina Choi
7. Modern Interpretation
The Souffle range by Kelly Wearstler – highlighted in this NYC loft conversion – is instantly recognisable as a modern-day curved sofa classic. The ruched texture and shaping reads 1970s design which adds a sense of prominence to a contemporary piece.
Image Credit: Kelly Wearstler
8. Shape Shifter
Considering Greg Natale’s fascination with the interplay of geometries, his choice of curved sofas for many of his projects resonates deeply. In crisp white and topped with accent cushions – like the Minotti ‘Dubuffet’ of this Sydney Harbour project – the result is relaxed and social; in rich aubergine velvet, the shape’s inherent flirtation appears, drawing the sitter in for a decadent experience.
Image Credit: Greg Natale/Photography: Anson Smart
9. Living In Harmony
For a modern Hong Kong apartment, Yabu Pushelberg envisioned and custom-designed two sweeping Boomerang sofas which, when placed together, create an almost complete circle. The harmonious arrangement is enhanced by gilded blossom and landscape wall panels by Moss & Lam and a free-form bronze Kailash coffee table from Sullivan Source reflects the panels’ accent colour.
Image Credit: Yabu Pushelberg