Magister | Back to the roots

The etymology of the word magister, which in Italian means maestro, is derived from the Latin magis, which means great, and the comparative suffix -ter. Thus, in a strictly etymological sense, magister means the greatest, the most expert, the one who is the most competent in a certain field, art or skill, to such an extent that they become the benchmark.

When Antonio Citterio and Paolo Nava, who designed Magister, chose this name in 1982, they may not have imagined they had created a product that would become an icon.

Pietro Galimberti clearly recalls the origins of the product. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, ideas and creativity flourished. The two designers formed a professional partnership that led to the development of numerous products for Flexform; among them, the Doralice armchair and the Filiberto, Pasodoble and, of course, Magister sofas.

The Magister sofa grew out of a desire to create a seating element in stark contrast to the “Divani di Famiglia” collection of sofas and armchairs that was a reinterpretation of shapes reminiscent of the tradition of using soft lightweight slipcovers. When the “Divani di Famiglia” collection debuted at the Salone del Mobile in 1981, it caused a major stir, launching the company onto the international stage.

Despite the success achieved with the “Divani di Famiglia”, the Galimberti family and the two designers understood the importance of “extending the range” and began to produce sofas with very different features.

Influenced in part by the work of some of the Rationalist masters, Antonio Citterio and Paolo Nava developed the concept of a sofa with a very uncluttered, sleek appearance, yet dense with artisanal details. Details designed to highlight the company’s ability to craft products that portray the perfect marriage between its talent for innovation and its vast experience in classic upholstering.

Also available in a non-tufted fabric upholstered version, the Magister sofa is at its best advantage in the elegantly tufted leather-upholstered version.

Magister replaces the button traditionally used in tufting with modern button-hole stitching that lends a fresher, more modern vibe to the seat cushions and backrest. The sofa is raised off the floor on sleek satin-finished metal feet and the back is characterized by a perforated metal shelf which, thanks to a simple yet ingenious mechanism, transforms the Magister sofa into a handy single bed. Since 1982 the Magister sofa has continued to be one of the sofas that best expresses the company’s commitment to make products that transcend the bounds of time and fashion, authentic distillations of form and function. Thanks to its uncluttered lines and compact proportions, the Magister sofa is at home in any setting, residential or public, like lounges, lobbies or corporate offices.

 

" Magister belongs to a time in my career when I was examining the experience of early Italian Rationalism, especially pre-Rationalist architecture between the two world wars.

The sofa can be converted to a day-bed through a mechanism in the backrest that allows it to fit next to the seat cushion, which is finished with typical mattress-style tufting."

Antonio Citterio, architect

 

Magister, a portrait by a master photographer

If the image of the Magister sofa is indelibly impressed in the collective memory, this is in part thanks to the photographs taken by Gabriele Basilico. Undeniable master of architectural and landscape photography, he was summoned by Natalia Corbetta, then the company’s art director, to portray the sofa for the ad campaign. The photographs were shot inside the Triennale di Milano, a location dear to the photographer, who created a series of rarefied images in which the product is narrated through a vision dense with poetry, as if suspended in a quasi-surreal setting. The perspective, lighting and placement of the two sofas – one white and one black – all contribute to the creation of powerful, profoundly expressive images.