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The Iconic Comfort of the Groundpiece Sofa

Celebrating Flexform’s Groundpiece sofa, a treasure from one of Italy’s greatest designers

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Twenty years ago, Italian designer Antonio Citterio created a new design for a sectional that he called the Groundpiece sofa. The deep cushions of this innovative couch were combined with a sleek bookshelf as an armrest to create a centrepiece of comfort.

Citterio designed the sofa for the company Flexform, which is renowned for its living room furniture. The oversized down-filled cushions invite relaxation and provide perfect warmth. The sofa has a low profile, and its understated elegance allows it to blend in with any style of décor. 

Antonio Citterio designed Groundpiece sofa
The Groundpiece combines deep, plush cushioning with sleek lines to make it both comfortable and stylish.

“It was perhaps one of the most innovative pieces—a soft surface in the centre of a space,” Citterio says about his goal of designing a couch that works in the centre of a room just as well as it does in a corner.

The wide, welcoming cushions invite guests to approach it from any side, and the bookshelf integrates the Groundpiece with objets d’art, books, or other elements that reflect the personal aesthetic of the owner.

“When we made Groundpiece, it seemed to us that we were making a project with impressive content but that would not have sold because it was so simple, so non-traditional,” Citerio says. “But we made it anyway. Because it seemed exciting to us to experiment with this marriage between art and a cushion, which is not exactly the most obvious marriage.”

Over the last two decades, Groundpiece has become a signature item in Flexform’s lineup of impressive couches, and it has influenced Flexform’s other designers to rethink the position of the sofa in overall home design. The company refers to the home environment as “an aesthetic expression,” and they genuinely believe “the beauty of a sofa can enhance quality of life.”

Groundpiece sofa

The Discreet elegance of Antonio Citterio’s Groundpiece sofa

Antonio Citterio was born in 1950 in Meda, Italy. He studied architecture in Milan and opened his own studio while he was still young. He has been crafting beautiful furniture with Flexform since 2000. 

Citterio’s philosophy and designs came to define the aesthetic language of Flexform, which is best expressed through the concept of discreet elegance. This translates to uncluttered shapes and soft materials without ostentation. The Flexform world is one of good manners and good taste, a kind of artistic finesse. A Flexform piece, especially a Groundpiece sofa, is like a blue blazer in the world of fashion—simple, deconstructed, refined, down to the smallest detail.

Antonio Citterio's sketch with FlexformFlexform was founded in 1959 by the Galimberti brothers who opened an artisan workshop called Flexform di Galimberti in the Brianza furniture manufacturing district in Northern Italy. Soon their designs found their way into the elegant post-war homes of Milan, in villas overlooking Lake Como, and even in the foyer of the Teatro alla Scala.

The children of the founders grew up in the business and eventually transformed the workshop into an industrial facility. The family’s perceptive insights led to the decision to partner with some of the leading designers of the time: Joe Colombo, Asnago-Vender, Cini Boeri, Rodolfo Bonetto, and many others.

During the same period, the company’s vision of corporate growth also included investing in a talented young architect-designer named Antonio Citterio, a partnership that has continued, without interruption, for more than 40 years.

“Without this knowledge and understanding of our history, it would not be possible to steer the company in the direction of our best future. It is true that only those who know where they have come from can know where they are going.”

Flexform has proven that a dedication to strong relationships and quality production will never go out of style. Whether it is the Groundpiece sofa or one of the company’s many new designs that may prove to become iconic in the coming years, a room full of Flexform furniture becomes a room for living your best life.

As Flexform’s name suggests, its furniture designs are flexible enough to complement different spaces without overwhelming them.

This story is from Magnifissance Issue 106

Issue 106
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