This week, a cerulean blue sofa—its shape somewhere between a corncob and a cumulus cloud—took over Twitter feeds and TikTok For You pages. Like the viral Ear Mirror of 2021, Blue Sofa’s saga started on a curbside in New York City. “Hi guys, this is me discovering an $8,000 couch off the street,” says TikTok user @Yafavv.Mandaa, who posted the video on Saturday. For some of us, that sofa would have remained in situ. But @Yafavv.Mandaa hauls the piece indoors, deep cleans it, and transforms it into the protagonist of her living room.
Cue the detractors: What about bedbugs? Bodily fluids? When a sofa is of unknown provenance, these are reasonable questions. (For anyone masochistic enough to investigate, bedbug reporting is tracked by the city here.)
As for that $8,000 appraisal: @Yafavv.Mandaa attributed the sofa, and its luxury price tag, to Roche Bobois, which sells a seating series of similar design. Called the Bubble, the piece was the brainchild of French designer Sacha Lakic, who once relayed in an interview that the idea behind its playful shape was to “bring poetry and sensitivity into the home [in the way that] art can.” Retail price: $8,000 to $10,000.
“Stooping”—that is, reclaiming discarded furniture, plants, or art from the curb—is a cherished ritual in many places, but perhaps most of all in New York City, where walking culture, the transience of rental living, and stark wealth inequality create a prolific trash-to-treasure pipeline. “The culture of New York City lends itself to the act of stooping in such an authentic way,” says the anonymous administrator of @stoopingnyc, the social media account of record for curbside cowboys across the five boroughs. “People are always coming and going, and because there are so many ways to live in [this city] and no one apartment is the same, [many] great pieces of furniture end up on the street.”
But was @Yafavv.Mandaa’s find too good to be true? Maybe, especially in a market flooded with dupes. A quick search of replica designs yields several results with similar silhouettes, and even an identical cerulean shade, with significantly lower price tags. Some Twitter users also called out the differences in upholstery between the found sofa and versions detailed on the Roche Bobois site.
Naturally, @stoopingnyc was hip to Blue Sofa before the rest of us, posting on Instagram Stories when it was initially spotted. The fact that it made the feed at all was notable: On a given day, the account’s admin reports receiving “high hundreds” of DMs with potential listings, with numbers teetering into the thousands on weekends and at the end of each month. “We actually only sleep when it rains,” they joke. The rules? “No mattresses, free only, and it’s gotta be put outside.”
As it turns out, @Yafavv.Mandaa may have hit the jackpot after all. A spokesperson from Roche Bobois confirms that her find appears to be authentic, thanks to its apparently very real designer tag and custom fabric, specifiable only through the brand. The sofa, they say, is upholstered in a Marshmallow textile, a less common (but still totally legitimate) option the company offers.
“Working in the company for over a decade has made it unmistakable for me to recognize our products,” says Cindy Susilo, Roche Bobois’s marketing director for North America. “Our collections’ shapes, fabric, and colors, and even more iconic products like the Bubble are easily identifiable.”
This isn’t the brand’s first brush with fame, or even the Bubble’s, as A-listers like Kate Moss, Hailey Bieber, and Charlotte Gainsbourg have all been photographed on its cloudlike seat. But nothing before has reached the scale of this TikTok—which, as of last evening, had amassed more than 8 million views. Since the video went viral, the company adds, traffic on the sofa’s product page has been 40 times the average. The question is, how long will this bubble last?
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