‘Ouverture’ sofa by Pierluigi Cerri for Poltrona Frau is a modern classic reimagined

Poltrona Frau reissues the ‘Ouverture’ sofa by Italian architect Pierluigi Cerri, a 1982 design classic

Ouverture Sofa by Pierluigi Cerri for Poltrona Frau in yellow leather
(Image credit: Courtesy Poltrona Frau)

A polymath and a visionary, Pierluigi Cerri, born in 1939, sought perfection throughout his career – as an architect, designer, curator, editor, and academic – and continues to be a central figure in the Milanese creative industry. 

 Pierluigi Cerri and Poltrona Frau: ‘Ouverture’ sofa 

Ouverture Sofa by Pierluigi Cerri for Poltrona Frau in red leather

(Image credit: Courtesy Poltrona Frau)

Among Cerri's collaborators is Poltrona Frau, another giant of Italian design, with whom the architect has worked for years. For the company, based in Tolentino, Cerri envisioned one of his most cutting-edge pieces, the ‘Ouverture’ sofa, a design classic conceived in 1982. 

The industrial-looking, modular sofa is paired with inviting and plush cushions that underline the heavy and brutalist metal structure – the skeleton of this piece of furniture. A visual juxtaposition and an aesthetic contrasting with the interior design norm of the time, the piece is now 40 years old and as contemporary as ever.

Archive photography of Ouverture sofa by Pierluigi Cerri for Poltrona Frau

(Image credit: Courtesy Poltrona Frau)

‘With its brutalist structure, “Ouverture” highlights the system of beliefs that conceived it as a protest against bourgeois conformism,’ says Cerri. ‘Ouverture’ (a name that translates from French as ‘opening’) unlocks a metropolitan aesthetic that decades later is still innovative and highly functional. The sofa comes in different versions, in Poltrona Frau’s signature Pelle Frau leather as well as textile upholstery.

Ouverture sofa detail by Poltrona Frau

(Image credit: Courtesy Poltrona Frau)

On its 40th birthday, ‘Ouverture’ brings back the language that broke the formalism of the time. It was a brave and courageous object able to express an idea of opposition against middle-class conformism, but at the same time was realised and distributed by one of the brands that most embodied bourgeois living. 

Forty years young, ‘Ouverture’ still represents an extremely contemporary creative expression. The re-edition of this piece is part of Poltrona Frau’s celebration of its 110th anniversary in 2022. On the occasion of Design Miami 2022, Poltrona Frau will be launching ‘a new Ouverture’ at design showroom Luminaire as well as at the Poltrona Frau Miami flagship store, 

‘Ouverture’ Sofa, by Pierluigi Cerri, for Poltrona Frau, from £8.150 + VAT

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Maria Cristina Didero is an independent design curator, consultant and author, who has contributed to many publications over the years; she is currently Milan editor of Wallpaper* . Didero has consulted for companies such as Vitra, Fritz Hansen, Lexus, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Valextra among others. Based in Milan, she works internationally, curating exhibitions for institutions: some of her most recent projects include Nendo: The Space in Between and The Conversation Show at the Holon Design Museum, Israel; FUN HOUSE by Snarkitecture at National Building Museum, Washington D.C.; SuperDesign a project about Italian radical design, NY; Vegan Design, or the Art of Reduction by Erez Nevi and The Fish and The Crowd by Carlo Massoud, Milan. In April 2022 she curated a Mathieu Lehanneur exhibition at the Triennale in Milan called The Inventory of Life, while in July she debuted a project at the MK&G in Hamburg titled Ask Me if I Believe in the Future, alongside a series of ongoing collaborations. She was appointed 2022 Curatorial Director of Design Miami/. She is currently preparing two projects for Milan Design Week 2023.