The bedroom - from a room for sleeping in to a multipurpose space

Camere da letto LEMA H

Mynight, Gabriele and Oscar Buratti for Lema

We can imagine a house without a kitchen, but not without a sleeping area. Along with a multitude of furnishings that turn this particular space into a microworld in which anything is possible.

For Ettore Sottsass it was the room for making love in, like Yoko Ono and John Lennon, albeit in the context of a protest (who could forget their Bed-In, a honeymoon as revolutionary as it was media-focused?). Stanley Kubrick saw it as a sort of human zoo, timeless and crammed with alien creatures  (2001: A Space Odyssey), while for Beatriz Colomina the bed was a unique horizontal architecture that could lend itself to a workspace in the age of social media (Architecture Biennale 2018).  Basically, times change, and bedrooms seem to evolve along with them, becoming spaces symbolic of creative resilience.  

While Doris Day and Rock Hudson spent hours in bed on the telephone in Pillow Talk, the Millennials and Gen Z have turned it into a smart working and home schooling space, the veritable epicentre of domestic change, ratifying the room’s versatile and transformist character. Because the bedroom – as it is usually described, in a cryptic turn of phrase that is half coy and part linguistically technical – is now a space for conviviality, interconnections, the place in which changes are first perceived. 


Bio-Mbo by Patricia Urquiola for Cassina

01p al da fre

NEYÕ for Alf DaFrè


Stone by Baxter

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While the space in which we sleep is changing, beds remain the ultimate refuge. Reflecting on this concept, Patricia Urquiola has come up with Bio-Mbo for Cassina - a supremely cosy alcove, but above all an independent space, a room within a room, thanks to the large, upholstered headboard with two movable pocketed side wings, creating a small cockpit. The most original thing about this bed is its use of innovative air purifying and sound absorption materials. Gordon Guillaumier and Federico Peri, on the other hand, were inspired by the rounded forms of stones washed smooth by rivers: the former with NEYÕ for Alf DaFrè, boasting versatile double shelves with a hidden compartment that one can lean against and in which the most disparate of objects can be placed; the latter with Stone by Baxter, its harmonious form marking out an intimate and comfortable space for two, in a simple gesture. A bed as comfy as a sofa for working and studying? Gabriele and Oscar Buratti have achieved just this with the volumetric presence and soft headboard of  MyNight for Lema. Marcel Wanders Studio has added a gender connotation to his bedroom furnishing for Poliform: the bed in his Gentleman Night Collection takes the shape of the human body into consideration, along with the ideal position for healthy rest, while the tall, curved headboard provides protection for the sleeper.

Beds aside, there’s an entire microcosm of useful furnishings for the most varied of activities. Philippe Tabet has designed the Nota container collection for Pianca – super-functional objects that are a balance of opposites – strength and flexibility, solidity and lightness, rigour and fantasy. Emanuela Garbin’s Guardaroba Private and Cassettiera Isola for Flou are equally rational – a customisable system that sorts, collects and tidies. Rimadesio’s Modulor solution is also tailor-made – it adapts to every sort of architecture and can be configured with doors, suspended elements and cabinets, and incorporates customised wardrobe elements into the boiserie.


Mynight, Gabriele and Oscar Buratti for Lema


Gentleman Night Collection, Poliform


Nota, Pianca Partners  - Photo by Andrea Martiradonna e Jasmina Martiradonna


Guardaroba Private and Cassettiera Isola by Emauela Garbin for Flou

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Valet stands are clever things. Ombre by Leonardo Talarico for MDF and 908 by Florian Kallus and Sebastian Schneider for Rolf Benz are both  perfect expressions of simplicity and adimensional perfection, minimal and sculptural structures that define the perfect domestic help. In this pandemic or post-pandemic world, positioned between the bed and the desk, screens have become invaluable. Rayures by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Glas Italia create private islands, filtering the light poetically and surreally. Steve Leung has taken an altogether different approach with the Huo collection for Medea 1905 - a harmoniously striated screen for marking out places that are off limits.   

The bedroom has become the unexpected new smart working and DAD space, inspiring desks such as  Monica Förster’s Tucano for Zanotta, and Shinsaku Miyamoto’s Mo Bridge Small Desk for Ritzwell - elegant and essential, they are expressions of design simplicity and synthesis, and are easily positioned next to the bed for every need.  

Mirrors are still the cult objects when it comes to bedrooms, bringing life, light and depth to the space. Lewis Carroll’s Alice would have adored Monica Förster’s Sky Mirrors for Zanat – functional objects with a mystical and fairytale allure, and freestanding and therefore ideal as dividers – and the surreal Pinch collection of mirrors that attempt (fruitlessly) to escape their frames, by Lanzavecchia + Wai for Fiam. 

If mens sana in corpore sano is the mantra of today, physical exercise is a must, even at home. One of the best places for this is the bedroom, away from prying looks. Technogym’s Personal Line by  Antonio Citterio and Toan Nguyen is a collection of home fitness products that combine advanced technology, innovative digital solutions and sophisticated design. On-demand personal training and a console featuring Netflix might well win over even the laziest among us!  

Lastly, what gives this space a personal twist is the choice of bedding – some people go for linen, satin or cotton in warm, neutral tones, while others favour brightly-coloured silk, or designs featuring floral patterns or stylised landscapes. The social value of sheets and covers is fundamental these days – beautiful and well-made is still sought-after, but sustainable manufacturing and organically-farmed natural fibres are paramount.  Fazzini and Gabel docent.


Ombre by Leonardo Talarico for MDF

09_Rolf Benz

908 byFlorian Kallus and Sebastian Schneider for Rolf Benz


Rayures by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Glas Italia


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Collection Huo by Steve Leug for Medea 1905


Tucano by Monica Förster for Zanotta


Mo Bridge Small Desk by Shinsaku Miyamoto for Ritzwell

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Sky Mirror by Monica Förster for Zanat


Pinch by Lanzavecchia + Wai for Fiam


Personal line by Antonio Citterio and Toan Nguyen for Technogym


Photo by di Mattia Aquila for Fazzini



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24 July 2021