In 1968, Italian architect Signe Boeri began experimenting with simple forms of molded polyurethane that could be rolled up into a removable quilt, almost like her children’s sleeping bags. The so-called Strips series, a name derived from this easy-to-dress design, was as practical as ever: “The cover can be taken off, washed, changed, put back on and closed like a dress over a polyurethane body,” she wrote in 1974. The chairs and sofas were officially unveiled and the beds—which looked like building blocks dressed in puffy coats—in 1971 with Italian manufacturer Arflex (it still produces Strips today with a starting price of $8,150 for a sofa). Today, with the increasing popularity of 1970s modular seating, design professionals around the world have declared their allegiance. Architect superstar Frank Gehry lives with several pieces in his Santa Monica home, and 100AD talent Charles de Lisle used a handful of green pieces in his redesign of the Sea Ranch Lodge in California. You can buy them new through Arflex, starting at $8,150, or pick up a used score from 1stDibs for a little less, if you’re lucky.

Cini Boeri striped sofa for Arflex, 1970s

Pumpkin sofa by Pierre Paulin of Ligne Roset, 1960s

Agathe Tessier

In the late 1960s, as France sought to unleash the country’s struggling design industry, they came up with a clever idea: redesign President Georges Pompidou’s apartment in the Elysee Palace by the young French talent Pierre Paulin. In Pauline’s out-of-this-world rooms, there were many decorations: carved sofas and chairs made from strips of wood wrapped in foam and upholstered in leather. While the seats were coveted by visiting dignitaries, the series — known to most as the Elysée — didn’t gain much popularity until the early 2000s, when it resurfaced at Dimeche Danant Gallery in New York. “People knew Pauline, but they knew nothing about the French production,” explains Suzanne Demeche. “They were hard to find, even back then.” Fashion designer Nicolas Ghesquière captured some of the first products to hit the market. While those rare originals—which were briefly produced by French manufacturer Alfa and finished around 1973—are difficult to find, New York gallery Ralph Pucci is now offering reissues. Meanwhile, for a less expensive option, check out Paulin’s 2007 Pumpkin release from French maker Ligne Roset, starting at $5,260.

Pumpkin sofa by Pierre Paulin for Ligne Roset

Polar Bear Sofa by Jean Royère, 1947

Polar bear sofa and chair in a Malibu beach house designed by John Lautner.
Roger Davies

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