By Eric Broug
One of the things I appreciate most about traditional social settings in the Middle East is the ample supply of very large pillows and cushions on which you can recline. They invite you to relax, and settle in for hours of conversation and tea drinking. The abundance of pillows and cushions also suggests that there is plenty of room to accommodate many more friends, should they arrive later. So very different from European living rooms, where sofas and other living room seating arrangements make a visual statement before they make a comfort statement (sometimes they make no comfort statement at all!).
So, wouldn’t it be good if there was a sofa that took the abundance of comfort from the Middle Eastern living room and combined it with the design sensibility of European sofas? Well, fortunately some have done just that. Marrakech-based designer Younes Duret has created the Sofarabe. It’s a modular sofa that allows you to make it as large as your living room can manage. It has different elements underneath the seats that allow you to decide on the appearance of the sofa. It makes visual references to the nomadic Bedouin culture of Morocco by the use of belts that seem to hold the sofa together. The use of these leather belts also seems to suggest that the sofa is ready for a trip.
The seat cushions are very wide and deep, inviting you to lie back and recline.
The geometric pattern that Younes Duret has used for one of three modular elements features a tenfold star design that can be found in the regional design heritage of various parts of the Islamic world. It can be seen here, for example, on the facade of the sabil-kuttab of Sultan Qaytbay in Cairo, built in 1479 during the Mamluk era. It appears twice, as rectangular compositions, on either side of the black and white lintel.
The sofarabe is part of a home furnishings range called Souk’Na. For more information about the Sofarabe and other products, visit http://younesdesign.com
P.S.: Tom Hanks can be seen accepting a beverage while sitting on the Sofarabe in the recent movie Hologram for a King.