Are we products of our youth or formed by our surroundings?
Do past memories influence decisions in our lives today?
My case in point – the sofa.
I can still vividly recall the sofas of my youth and the impact their design had on me.
My first childhood friend was a child of parents newly emigrated from Italy. They barely spoke English but their hard work and commitment to success in this new country was strong. They took pride in ownership of their home and its contents. I remember their sofa. We would sit on it while we watched cartoons, drinking Brio cola and eating Nutella® sandwiches. It was soft beige in colour but I could not tell you what the fabric content was as I actually never felt it – the sofa was covered in plastic. The entire sofa was actually upholstered with clear plastic shielding the decorative fabric. So no matter if we spilled our Brio colas or dropped our Nutella sandwiches the plastic protected that sofa!
My next childhood friend had a green sofa that we sat on hour after hour while listening to records on the family Hi-Fi record player (my friend loved music). But for the life of me I could not figure out how to sit on that sofa without falling off. Truly! The fabric on this sofa was polyester – 1st generation polyester and slippery as hell. If you sat on the sofa the seat cushions would slip forward and soon you would find yourself sitting on the floor. Or at least I would, my friend’s family had somehow figured out the secret behind keeping the cushions from sliding.
My teenage friend was a child of parents newly emigrated from Germany. Now they had a very different sofa. Or at least different from what I had at home. Their living room was all decorated in teak. Teak sofa, teak chairs. My friend’s living room was the essence of Danish design; very ‘Mid-Century Modern’ as it is called today. I admired it then and I just had the opportunity to once again admire it after a recent visit to my friend’s parents’ home and it still looks wonderful.
So in retrospect, I have never had a sofa covered in plastic although I do occasionally in summer throw a sheet over my leather sofa to prevent sticking. I avoid synthetic fabrics on my sofas and prefer natural fabrics – linens, cottons, leather and wool. And I am smitten with all things Mid-Century!