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Future Classic | The Togo Seating Collection

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    Some have compared Michel Ducaroy’s Togo Seating to a caterpillar. Others see the connection to dogs with folded skins, such as the Shar-Pei, the Basset Hound or the Neapolitan Mastiff. However, whether this seating is likened to a breed of dog or an insect, it’s become extremely popular with those looking for both a 70s retro feel or, as importantly, comfort.

    For Ducaroy, who came from a family of industrial designers, it’s unsurprising that he gravitated to designing furniture after graduating from the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Lyon. While he initially joined the family business making furniture, Ducaroy soon established his own business in 1952 before taking on the role as a creative director for Ligne Roset a couple of years later, a company that still produces the Togo seating which is now sold through DOMO Australia-wide.

    And while some may think the inspiration for this future classic may have come from walking his Shar-Pei or his Basset Hound (should he have owned either), he is quoted as saying that it came from looking at a folded aluminium tube of toothpaste, “…folded back on itself like a stovepipe and closed at both ends”. However, rather than aluminium, the Togo seating, which comes in a variety of configurations, including a chair with or without an ottoman, a module lounge and even a corner seat referred to as a ‘love’ seat, is made from foam and wrapped in quilted polyester or leather.

    With renewed interest in 1970s architecture and design, it’s become popular for many designers. Adrian Preman, a designer and stylist with Mim Design, regularly selects the Togo seating with his team in all its forms and fabric choices – allegedly up to 900 different shades. “The Togo is as relevant today as it was when it was first released (at the Salon des arts menagers in Paris in 1973). It’s extremely versatile, and we use it in all its forms, whether in an open plan living area or as a singular chair in a nook in a bedroom,” Adrian says, who sees this design as fitting comfortably in both period and contemporary homes.

    And while Mim Design’s clients can select from the broad range of fabrics and colours, he sees a definite preference for the blues and navies in a suede finish. “We find that the other hues that are popular tend to veer towards the caramel and burnt orange tones,” Adrian adds, who also appreciates the Togo’s low-lying module configuration and its simple pleated detailing.

    The Togo Fireside chair, settee and and corner seat by Michel Ducaroy for Ligne Roset in the Coastal Pavilion by Mim Design | Photography by Tom Blachford

    Castorina in Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, has a number of significant chairs and lounges from the late 1960s and the ‘70s. It currently has a Togo ‘Love Seat’ in its collection and a two and a three-seater, ranging in price from $5,500 to $7,500 (depending on the design and fabric). “There’s a strong trend for low seating, whether it’s a chair or a lounge suite. It has a similar feel to stepping into a sunken lounge, popular in the ‘70s and also now,” says Ugo Cocchis, who operates the business with Patrizia Castorina, importing originals from Italy.

    While the low profiles of this design immediately suggest comfort, Ugo sees its appeal from loosely dividing open-plan living spaces. “There are still unimpeded sight lines through a space,” Ugo adds, who sees the bright coloured velvets, such as yellow, orange and green, further enlivening an interior.

    The Togo seating is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. And while it was designed all those years ago, it still appears contemporary today – a future classic that will continue to excite for years to come.

     

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