Designed by Harper's and Queen magazine's art director Willie Landels in the early 1960s and put into production by Zanotta in 1965, this year the Throw-away sofa ironically reached its half century.
The simplest of ideas that launched a new direction for sofa production, the Throw-away is made of four blocks of expanded polyurethane sealed and designed by Landels for his own home. In a radical turn in design history, the simplification of the production process provides an ideal example of a product that perfectly embodies both cultural innovation and vanguard production technologies.
To mark its 50 years, the Throw-away sofa has undergone renewal: new seat dimensions and one lumbar cushion made with goose feathers. The sofa name changes into Throw-Away L and is offered in new fabrics – velvet, wool and chenille.
“I am very pleased to see Throw-away in its fiftieth anniversary renewed with a maturity that surely makes it more comfortable without losing its elegant simplicity,” declared Willie Landels, the Italian-Scottish designer. "The company did a very good job with the sofa, the armchair and the footrest designed so long ago for my London home, without distorting its spirit. In the last 50 years the partition of domestic rooms – the living room, the kitchen and the dining room – has practically disappeared. The lifestyle is less formal, the spaces are more open and more cozy. You cook while talking to your relatives, or with guests sitting around a table or on an armchair in a more relaxed way” the designer explains.
“Design can do a lot to this extent. Provide daily objects – even the most popular ones – with personality and character. Responsibility is in the hands of the most sensitive companies, like Apple, Braun, Zanotta. But what can designers do? Nowadays young people sit most of the day in front of a computer. A certainly necessary tool even in our job, but not an “oracle”, I think it should be used with caution to avoid monotony of products. Let’s think about cars that nowadays look alike. On the other hand when designer’s hand intervenes, their qualities emerge. Companies like Zanotta should push young creative people adding the knowledge of humanistic culture to the technical skillfulness”.