Sofa beds are useful, multifunctional furnishings which act either as a fully fledged sofa, or, when opened and unfolded, a bed. As a space saving solutions and can either be used in guest rooms, children’s rooms, or even living spaces.
In some designs, the sofa bed’s folding ability is evident: Alvar Aalto’s 1930 ‘Aalto Schlafsofa Modell 63’, manufactured today by Edition Wohnbedarf, leaves its steel frame and folding mechanism largely exposed. Conversely, Antonio Citterio’s and Paolo Nava’s ‘Magister’ for Flexform is a large, serious sofa bed with a movable backrest, which creates enough room to accommodate one sleeping person.
In other cases as well, the fact that the sofa can fold into a bed is not manifested in its outward appearance at all. The visually light and airy ‘Just’ sofa bed, designed for Swedese by Lars Petterson, Martin Visser’s ‘BR 02.7’ for spectrum meubelen, as well as the more robust ‘Arlekino’, by Franz Fertig for die Collection, and Peter Ross’s ‘Emilio’ sofa bed for Bonaldo, all conceal their function as a bed.
This design approach is countered by models such as Enzo Palmisciano’s ‘Divaletto’ sofa bed for Milano Bedding, essentially a mattress which can be folded into a sofa. Other interesting solutions include Centro Design’s ‘Papillon’ for Bonaldo, in which the asymmetrically folded sofa transforms into a conventional, flat bed, to ‘Plug-In’ sofa bed, designed by Gioia Meller Marcovicz for Wittmann, where an oversized armrest and an integrated side table become nightstands on either side of the unfolded bed, and the built-in reading light attached to the back of the sofa can also be used for its original purpose.
And lastly, some sofa beds tend to resemble beds almost as much as sofas, such as the stark, elegant ‘Sofa ‘Sophie’’, designed for Raum B Architektur by Daniela Saxer. The design includes a built-in storage space that can double as a night stand and upholstered armrests, which are removed to accommodate a sleeper. More informal, LAGRAMA’s ‘Composition 39’ is in fact a comfortable wall bed, transformed into sofa by a heap of colourful cushions.