The Latest Iconic Italian Sofa Reissue, Bellini’s 1972 Le Mura, Has Arrived in the US

It started with the return of conversation pits. Our first reference to that infamously louche, loungey ’70s-era seating style appeared way back in the early days of Sight Unseen, before Don Draper had even moved into his Park Avenue apartment. Five years ago, they achieved a Zeitgeist-y imprimatur with a classic New York Magazine dissection; now they’re a full-fledged trend that interior designers have no problem broaching with clients. Then, logically, came the resurgence of that other ’70s-era seating mainstay — the ultra-comfortable, oft-squishy, sometimes-modular sofa, conceived by an array of (mostly) Italian designers, and built for conversation, intimacy, and that ephemeral but much sought-after quality of “conviviality.” The trend only picked up steam during the pandemic, spurred by our collective desire to entertain at home. Now, alongside a slew of other sofa reissues throughout the industry — including the Cameleonda by Mario Bellini, the Maralunga by Vico Magistretti, and the Soriana by Tobia Scarpa — comes another Bellini masterpiece back onto the market: The Le Mura sofa, first released in 1972 and reissued last year by Tacchini, will get its US debut this week at the New York design gallery M2L, in a special presentation on view though March 27.

Tacchini is no stranger to re-editions; in fact, they’re built into the Italian company’s DNA and their commitment to shining a light on design classics — projects, they say, “that are extraneous to any logic of fashions and trends, but so powerful as to naturally determine a style.” Le Mura had a potent visual identity out of the gate. A modular sofa, it was composed of endlessly reconfigurable blocky segments — inspired by the bricks that form the ancient walls that encircle so many Italian cities — that were fastened by industrial chrome metal buckles that hung from the seat cushions. In the re-edition, Tacchini has doubled down on the visible hardware, with cushions accented, Schiaparelli-like, by exposed zippers that recall Bellini’s garment-like Cab chair. Like so many sofas of that era, it went out of production before its time, and Tacchini is betting that it will find success the second time around.

In the new edition, the materials are what have changed the most, redesigned to meet contemporary standards in terms of comfort and sustainability. The internal structure is made of cold foam with iron inserts, with a layer of memory foam to ensure comfort and cushiness; the amber-colored leather chosen for the launch is of a particularly buttery variety. But generally the design hasn’t changed a ton, in part because it’s so timeless, pulling as it does from such elemental building blocks: “In Bellini’s designs, there’s always a reference to architecture, and in this case the connection is represented by the inspiration behind the design,” says Giusi Tacchini, the brand’s CEO and art director. “In Le Mura, there’s a clear allusion to primordial architectural elements — bricks — which are the most basic part of all human intervention. I remember seeing one of the first photos they took of it at the time, where you could see the sofa positioned on top of a mound of soil. The composition reminded me of the emblematic image of the perched fortress, in a dialogue that I found fascinating between the city, industrial design, and the domestic realm of man.”

Tacchini’s special presentation at M2L, with a set design inspired by the latest Tacchini catalogue “Life and Other Stories,” will be on view from March 9-27 at M2L Curated Gallery, 10 East 38th Street, 2nd Floor
, New York NY 10016.