A Heavenly Sofa For Hellish Times
You've had a long day and all you want to do is get home and sink into your Togo sofa, "a cloud of happiness."
If there is a single sofa that looks like it has fallen from the heavens, it would be the one in Michel Ducaroy's Togo collection. The low-to-the-ground sofa is aggressively pillowy and more closely resembles an artful cumulus cloud than a piece of French furniture. In recent months, I've seen the dense ergonomic sofa—which has been an icon in comfort and decor for over 40 years—pop up on my Instagram feed with increasing frequency. It's not hard to imagine why the allure of the unique design is still holding steady today.
Ducaroy was born into a family of designers and furniture makers, and upon graduating from Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, he jumped straight into the family business. It wasn't until 1952 that Ducaroy branched out on his own as a designer, signing on with the furniture manufacturer Ligne Roset in the years to follow. It would take nearly 20 years before he came up with the Togo line. One of his earliest designs was the Adria Sofa, a low-sitting design that showed the designer was exploring concepts that would soon make the Togo sofa iconic. That same exploration would continue with the Kashima and the Safi concept styles.
The Togo collection finally made its debut in 1973, and much like its predecessors, the design was made up of low-profile, billowing cushions, but there was something that set this one apart—perhaps it was just that the world was ready for something less structured and more amorphous—and the style saw much more commercial success. The instant feeling of comfort and coziness made it irresistible to eccentric homeowners and creative types alike. Although many of Ducaroy's designs have since been decommissioned by the furniture giant, the Togo is still being produced, and remains one of Ligne Roset's best sellers.
The low-lounge Togo design comes in an array of easy-to-pair pieces to choose from: a three-seater sofa, a corner seat, a single chair, a love seat for two, an ottoman, which can be configured in a variety of ways. Even though it is ubiquitous—or perhaps because of it?— it is a polarizing design, one that walks the line between maximalist and minimalist depending on personal taste.
The main appeal of a Togo sofa or loveseat or armchair seems to be the promise of bliss. Even by the standards of most sofas, it's comforting and made to lounge, a piece of expensive furniture that appears tailor-made for quick napping or lazy lounging, the opposite feeling of so much it-furniture, which seems to be made just to look at, to be photographed for magazines. To sit in a Togo sofa is to sink into a cloud of happiness. The design elevates the sheer act of sitting into something more, a respite from the hellish minutia of modern times. A moment of ecstasy has a timeless appeal, and that is perhaps the secret to why the Togo collection will forever be in demand.
- michel ducaroy