The Key Arm Sofa

Sherrill Key Arm Sofa, 2126

The Key Arm Sofa

I confess that I am always curious about the origin of the things.

Yes, I have gotten past the chicken or the egg question (It’s the egg, of course), but other questions go unanswered. Why is the sky blue, the grass green? Why is sand on the beach so small? Why are all babies cute? Why does it rain on weekends?

I can’t answer those questions, but I can tackle the mystery of the Greek Key sofa.

A close cousin and derivative of the Rolled Arm sofa. Blockier, yes, more Geometric, a shape that gives pause. Euclid would have this sofa in his home, but he would call it a couch.

Modern design theory points us to Art Deco, an architectural and decortative arts style that appeared in France before World War I. Art Deco was in turn influenced by Cubism Movement in Art. Painters like Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque broke their subjects up into compartments and reassembled them into a unified whole. Indeed, in the Key Arm sofa, the back, the seat, the arms, and the legs are visually separated, but the sofa exists as a complete unit.

But the Greek Key is an ancient pattern.

It is a pattern that when repeated mimics the wandering (one should insert “meandering”) Maeander River of Asia Minor that flows into the Aegean Sea with its many twists and turns. (This raises the question of why rivers meander, but that question is better answered elsewhere.) The essence of the Greek key design is an interlocking rectangular pattern constructed from one continuous line. The ancient Greeks of Achilles day and on often featured it in architectural friezes and pottery vases. The Romans copied the Greek design, and by the 18th century, all of Europe adopted it into their design vocabulary. The individual “key” adds an aura of mystery, the key being associated with a lock, and a lock with a puzzle. Thus, the key opens up a lock, revealing an answer to a puzzle.

One of the benefits of Greek Key is that it adds architectural interest to a room. A room is for the most part consists of lines and right angles. Floors and ceilings, windows and doors, are rectangles. The Greek Key sofa throws a twist into this regularity, offering a puzzle that even Euclid might ponder. The nail head trim featured on the Sherrill 2126 sofa accents this twist.

A look that is sophisticated and modern, if not intriguing.

Available at Traditions Home in Wichita and Overland Park.

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