There are plenty of trends we said goodbye to in the 1970s and ’80s that we still don’t want to see again (we’re looking at you, macramé), but Ray Wilkes’s famous Chiclet sofa (also called the Wilkes modular sofa) has made a much-welcomed return. Known for its contoured back, open bottom, and smooth armrests, the piece was a hit when it was first released by Herman Miller in 1976. But the iconic design was discontinued a decade later, meaning you could then only get your hands on a real one via the vintage market (where it was highly coveted). Now all that has changed. The company is releasing a reissue of the fan-favorite design this May. “With this relaunch, it does feel like we’re giving people what they want,” says Amy Auscherman, head of archives and brand heritage at the company.
At first glance, the Chiclet sofa looks totally the same. It still has the molded foam construction and 105-degree-angle back, but there are a few key differences. Consider it a 2021 twist on a classic.
Then there’s the matter of color. If you want to keep things classic, you can still get your sofa (or chair) in one of the bright solid hues (like Vibrant Blue or Rust Red). Or you can get it upholstered in two fresh textile options, Flamiber Bouclé and Maharam Wool, which span 26 colors. “I think the new nubby Flamiber textile will be perfect on the soft-edge cushions,” says Auscherman. Embrace the past by pairing yours with an aluminum Eames coffee table or Ettore Sottsass Colonna stool. We love a good comeback story.