Striking in its playful simplicity, eye-catching and charmingly self-assured – the renowned sofa system named after a chewing gum is making a comeback. And it’s more relevant than ever.
May 21st, 2021
While Chiclet gum, the FMCG product Ray Wilkes’ sofa was famously named after, has been discontinued and to many is just a nostalgic memory of days gone by, the disarmingly confident postmodern design is not going anywhere. In fact, Herman Miller is reintroducing the iconic system.
Attuned to the needs of today’s consumer and actively pre-empting the changing nature of the modern workplace, Herman Miller is bringing back the famous Chiclet – with subtle improvements that make the product more suitable for the current market and for the new work environment that invites lifestyle furnishings into the office space.
Balancing Herman Miller’s impressive workspace and performance seating offering, the newly revisited design carries itself with the same uncomplicated playfulness as the original product designed by Ray Wilkes in 1976. Renowned for his affinity with simplicity, the designer believed that minimalism wasn’t just about straight lines. ‘The most important thing is the form and the simplicity of making it,’ he would say. Wilkes Modular Sofa Group is one of the most precise expressions of this philosophy.
The clean lines and contoured shape of the cushions – square with rounded edges – were created almost by chance when Wilkes discovered a foam injection machine in the manufacturing section of the plant. The use of this inventive technology meant that the cushions would maintain their pristinely structured form and highlight the 105-degree angle of the seat and back, which was designed for the perfect casual fit.
The selection of colours offered at inception further accentuated Chiclet’s exquisitely uncomplicated silhouette – and boosted the popularity of the sofa system. By applying the vivid choice of rainbow hues to the two-way-stretch upholstery fabric, the company created an instantly recognisable icon that could fit in with any context.
An incredibly successful innovation at the time, today Chiclet continues to seduce with its effortlessly simple design. In response to the changing needs of the modern consumer, the system has been purposefully revisited to improve the power and upholstery options. The collection that burst with all the colours of the rainbow in the late 70’s has now been expanded to include a selection of more toned down and modern hues.
The versatile system is available in various configurations that range from a chair to a four-seater sofa. It also offers a broad selection of detailing options that make it easy to address bespoke requirements for a variety of settings. From conveniently hidden away yet easily accessible power outlets to sleek table units that can be allocated anywhere along the run, and dividers that blend the practicality of a sofa leg with the comfort of an upholstered armrest – Wilkes Modular Sofa Group is as flexible and functional as it is simple and striking.
Combining undeniable comfort, pragmatic functionality and the iconic design that – in the words of the famous designer himself – ‘is so basic, it is timeless’, Chiclet is bound to be the eye-catching piece of furniture in any spatial context. Whether it’s a residential interior or a commercial space, the system confidently walks the line of a lifestyle furnishing sought after in the modern workplace, offering a comfortable environment for collaboration and interaction.
Continuing Herman Miller’s tradition of collaborating with some of the most prominent international designers and celebrating some of the most influential furnishing designs globally, Chiclet is yet another example of the brand’s long-standing leadership in the world of design – and their inherent ambition to offer timeless and relevant furniture that responds to the needs of its contemporaries.
Explore the revisited Wilkes Modular Sofa Group and see how the timeless design can elevate the visual credentials and levels of comfort in your space. And if the acclaimed design talent behind Chiclet piqued your curiosity, find out more about the maestro of simplicity whose legacy goes well beyond the iconic, chewing gum inspired sofa system.
Keep up to date with the latest and greatest from our industry BFF's!
We sit down with Astro Lighting’s Cofounder and Design Director, James Bassant, to talk about the design philosophy fuelling the international success of the brand, the importance of being accessible – and why Astro never aspired to be achingly cool.
In celebrating the rich visual storytelling of Indigenous artists through a carefully curated selection of captivating designs for textiles and wallpapers, Willie Weston brings the artistry of First Nations people into commercial and residential interiors across the country.
The internet never sleeps! Here's the stuff you might have missed
No thanks to Covid-19, the Australian architecture and design industry’s biggest mental-health fundraising event has had a hiatus. But it’s time to dust off your dancing shoes and pull your costumes out of storage, because Dance For Life is back!