Dali’s Red Lips – The Story Behind This Iconic Art Furniture

Want to find out how Mae West’s pout sparked a Surrealist art furniture sensation? Today, I Lobo You is unraveling all the story, so stick around and be prepared to get amazed by this sofa design concept.

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A vintage version holds court in fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg’s Manhattan home.
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Dalí’s 1938 Mae West lips sofa by Alberto Peroli

Around 1935, Spanish artist Salvador Dalí saw something special in the face of movie star Mae West: an apartment.

In a watercolor, he turned her blonde curls into portières, her eyes into paintings, her nose into a fireplace, and her lips into a divan. The last was a furnishing so provocative that British arts patron Edward James requested a three-dimensional art furniture version of it.

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Lips sofas in arts patron Edward James’s West Sussex dining room.

See Also: The Future Perfect Gallery – An Odyssey Of Discovery of Art And Design

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Bocca Dark Lady sofa by Studio 65 for Gufram, 2008

Dalí set to the task of this art furniture recreation. The client deemed his first try, wrapped in pink satin, “too showy.” James preferred the next two, realized in 1938 by London decorators Green & Abbott in red and green felt with black fringe. 

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A lips sofa at Château de la Colle Noire, Christian Dior’s former residence in Montauroux, France, restored by designer Yves de Marseille.
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Sofa by Studio 65

James commissioned five Dalí lips contemporary art sofas, but there’s no reliable count of the spin-offs, vetted and otherwise. A Pop icon decades later, the seat was reenvisioned in 1970 by Italian radical firm Studio 65, which produced a polyurethane riff with Gufram.

Two years later, Dalí collaborated with Catalan architect Oscar Tusquets on another example in polyethylene, which BD Barcelona began producing in 2004.

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Dalilips by BD Barcelona
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Dalilips by BD Barcelona
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Dalilips by BD Barcelona
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Dalilips by BD Barcelona

Years later, lots of design brands want to replicate this iconic furniture design piece. Don’t you find this art furniture absolutely iconic?

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See Also: The Haas Brothers and L’Objet’s Ceramic Creatures

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