- The Songololo Sofa, inspired by sectional furniture of the 1970s and the flexible millipede, was originally unveiled by South African designer Haldane Martin in 2007.
- The furniture was recently re-engineered for outdoor use, with stronger legs, improved pivot brackets, and fabrics that withstand the elements.
- These sofas have made their way from South Africa to international clients in New York and Singapore but are also starting to gain traction at home.
- The six-seater Songololo Sofa sells for R395,945, according to Haldane's website.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
A South African sofa inspired by the segmented millipede, known colloquially as a Songololo, has been re-engineered for outdoor use and has found its way to high-end furniture owners across the globe.
Segmented and flexible sectional sofas were popularised in the 1970s by Swiss designer Ueli Berger. Inspired by Berger's classic furniture, South African designer Haldane Martin reinterpreted the sofa and debuted his own collection at the 2007 Design Indaba.
More than a decade after it first launched, Haldane's Songololo Sofa collection, aptly named for the furniture's shape, style, and flexibility, got a makeover for exterior use.
"The patented pivot brackets have been improved for stability and discreetly hidden, the legs are now more substantial made in aluminium flat bar and available in a multitude of exterior grade powder coat colours, and the fabric offering now includes performance fabrics by the worlds' leading outdoor brands," Haldane told Business Insider South Africa.
The new and improved Songololo Sofa, available in dozens of colours and upholstery fabric combinations, was officially launched in December 2021 with a photoshoot by Brett Rubin. The original Songololo Sofa was also photographed by Rubin, and the stills "became iconic images in SA design history".
Since its relaunch, the Songololo Sofa, each of which, like all of Haldane's furniture, is made to order, has attracted interest both locally and abroad.
"The international market has always been a big supporter of the more extravagant Haldane designs. Songololos have been sent to New York, Singapore, Portland, Toronto and to beautiful lodges in Northern Africa," said Haldane.
"But, what is perhaps the most exciting for us, is the increasing number of South African clients who are enjoying this South African design legend in their own homes and establishments."
The Songololo, made from a six-seater to 10-seater sofa, in addition to being fully customisable, can be moved into shape. The six-seater Songololo Sofa sells for R395,945, according to Haldane's website, while the 10-seater costs R654,695.
"It can be formed and reformed into straight, concave, and convex curves as well as a mixture of the former," said Haldane.
"This means you can form your Songololo to suit your mood or your space."