How does one quantify Onur Müştak Çobanlı’s Retrovirus two seater? Designer Çobanlı, of OMC Design, describes it as “a fun two-seater sofa with unique features.” Çobanlı, whose Erk Bathroom System Prototype proposed a bold new way to slim down the loo, would seem to have a knack for understatement. Because to call Retrovirus “fun” is akin to calling Mt. Everest “a bit of a climb.” The loveseat in question is a psychedellic multi-layered affair in black and white, an hallucinatory foray into textural suggestivity and hypnotically-patterned upholstery, a great burst of bizarre exuberance that recalls in equal measure the unbridled strangeness of Tim Burton and the off-kilter aesthetic of Javier Mariscal.
Retrovirus. Designed by Onur Müştak Çobanlı.
And shall I mention the Oedipal overtones? For I fear I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least acknowledge the unmistakable resemblance to certain features of the female anatomy at their most—ahem—laden. All of this makes for an intriguing design that certainly isn’t for the faint of heart, nor is it for lovers of especially clean lines and minimal adornment. But then, those folks wouldn’t seem to be in Çobanlı’s demographic. So to whom, exactly, will this “uber-fantastic seating experience” made of a wooden frame covered with polyurethane foam and textiles appeal? Perhaps the members of the Velvet Underground? The cast of Mel Brooks’ classic noir send-up, High Anxiety? The aliens from Mars Attacks!? Certain forward-thinking denizens of the East Village? Or maybe just the Dutch? The answer is all of the above and more. For the sole requisite for appreciating Retrovirus is an occasional yen for the far left of center. And sooner or later, we all find ourselves in precisely that figurative terrain.