Parlors are not the place for love-making. And, to tell the truth, neither are beds. “One needs a suburban meadow, a piece of desert, the steppes, the moors, in short all the places where the grass is scanty, hot and dry,” Pier Paolo Pasolini wrote, ahead of his time. It was 1968, well in advance of a pandemic that has forced us into lockdown, where we experience our sexuality (or lack of it, depending on cases and chances), alone or in company, inside four claustrophobic walls, or more if we happen to have a balcony, a terrace, a small garden or a landing.
We find ourselves wondering, among the many questions raised by the arrival of the virus, if one of the greatest poets, interpreter of charm and seduction, might not have been right all along.
Apart from the phallic vases of Sottsass, memory foam mattresses and exotic wallpaper, here is a quick report on what can effectively make a dwelling sexy and seductive.
Sexuality is promise, as we know. Everything is based on expectation, tension. In this sense the elevator can be the preliminary location par excellence. Where all the imagined loves take place, where all the unspoken words can be pronounced. From the gazes at the tenant from the first floor to the red of the stop button to press in any moment. The Schindler company – which has created a traveling exhibition titled Living (loving?) in Lift – offers a five-year maintenance program for energy savings, thanks to the installation of photovoltaic panels on the roof of the house. Sexy, but with respect for the environment.
Warm, soft lights and arrays of candles are fundamental to make a home into a place of seduction. “Using light means using all the available space,” wrote Ettore Sottsass. “Light creates, it penetrates with its design into the most secret zones of the inhabitants, because it is not an object that one touches, but exists outside of us.” From Lynch-style blinking neon signs that add mystery and sex-club aura – Seletti offers a wide range, like Neon Art by Selab – to the Come Together LED lamp by Artemide, an elegant Beatles invitation to combine amorous senses, designed by Carlotta De Bevilacqua, which can also be taken outside into the dark (up to 16 hours of battery life, which ought to be enough even for the most “lasting” of lovers). But it is not only about artificial light: according to a study conducted by the University of Siena, exposure to light increases production of testosterone, so let’s open the windows, the blinds and the shutters, to indulge in striptease sessions and voyeuristic fantasies of all kinds.
Aural stimuli, like smells and sights, reach our brain to activate sensations of pleasure: not just talking dirty, but also relaxing sexual fantasies for always hungry ears. For example: the ticking of fingernails on the back of a book, cries and whispers, slowly turning pages, the touch of a linen or velvet sheet. On YouTube and the social networks videos abound to illustrate this sort of mental orgasm, known to scientists as ASMS, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. ArkDes in Stockholm recently opened – only in digital terms, of course – the multimedia exhibition Weird Sensation Feels Good, with works by content producers, artists – like Björk – and companies, from giants like Ikea and Apple to small studios like Wang & Söderström, an art design duo with a focus on digital and physical explorations.
A house full of mirrors, from those on the ceiling – perhaps a bit over-the-top for a first date – to the elegance of having one alone, horizontal or vertical, right in front of the bed. The very famous Les Grands Trans-parents, 1938, created by Man Ray. Elliptic, and therefore with a slimming effect, screen-printed, for the brand Simon by Cassina. Produced by Simon Gavina in 1971, it has become a design icon with a game of words: what is big is transparent, i.e. the essential is invisible for the eyes. For cheaper solutions, the Internoitaliano catalogue offers Lula, designed by Margherita Sanfelici and Davide Fabio Colaci. A mirror in colored glass with a shelf on which to place your lipstick after having written a love message.
“Eating well, drinking better, relaxes the sphincters of the soul, disrupting the cardinal points of repressive culture and preparing us for the appearance of a communicability that should not be allowed to go to waste,” Manuel Vázquez Montalbán wrote in his Immoral Recipes. It’s a short hop from the kitchen to the bedroom, and perhaps there is no need to change rooms. Apart from aphrodisiac foodstuffs and exciting recipes, design can also do its part. Spacious peninsulas, solid, sturdy tables – without the corny tablecloths, thank you – and objects of all kinds. Bibelot Sexuel is the collection designed by Matteo Cibic of design objects that become elegant sex toys. With a dual function, besides performing their normal tasks these dildos lurk inside fishbowls, inside a lamp, or in the candles of a candelabrum.
As for chairs, there is Fenis by Zanotta, created by the architect Carlo Mollino. A genius who loved skiing, mountains, speed, flying and photography, forms and above all women. With his polaroids (shocking in the 1960s) he immortalized many women in various positions: a very comfortable seat, with ergonomic, sensual forms. As an alternative: the WW iconic stool by Philippe Stark for Vitra, designed for the director of Paris, Texas, Wim Wenders, or the Him & Her model by Fabio Novembre, seats like molds of the human body, inspired by divine creation, produced by Casamania.
Beds and pillows
The Spanish company Margarita Bonita offers erotic furnishings, in a collection known as Sex Revolution. The tone is a bit too Nineties porn, but the products seem functional. The Movement Bed – with its handy remote control – imitates the rhythms of love, promising sensational climaxes. It’s also a cure for insomnia, stiff necks and problems of circulation. On the website you can also find the Neotantra Sofa, which is as the name implies, and Love Pillows inspired by the Kama Sutra, also offering an advanced level and infinite slumber. Because, in the end, it is the desired body that invites us: let’s sleep together. Here, now.