How to Care for Your Iconic Camaleonda Sofa?

Some pieces become timeless icons in interior design, and the Camaleonda sofa is a prime example. Its unique forms, versatile functionality, and rich history have made it a masterpiece seamlessly woven into the fabric of design history. Whether you’re thinking of getting this iconic B&B furniture or already own one, it’s crucial to know how to care for it properly. Our expert sofa cleaning tips will help you keep your beautiful Camaleonda looking and feeling as good as new for years to come.

But before you jump into cleaning and maintenance tips, getting familiar with this art piece’s origin and design is crucial. Knowing the materials used for making Camaleonda sofas also gives you a great insight into how to care for them to prolong their life.

Read our guide on another iconic furniture piece: How to Care for Your Togo Sofa

Camaleonda in light grey chenille. Picture by B&B Italia.

Camaleonda sofa – History, Design & Materials

Conceived by architect Mario Bellini in 1970 for B&B Italia, the Camaleonda sofa symbolises 1970s design innovation. Its enduring popularity is rooted in a distinctive modular design featuring plush cushions connected by rings and carabiners, offering structural stability and easy rearrangement. The sofa’s adaptability is evident in its ability to seamlessly fit into diverse interior styles, from minimalist to eclectic, thanks to its low, deep-seated profile. Discontinued in the late ’70s, the Camaleonda reemerged in 2020, reintroduced to captivate a new generation of design lovers with its remarkable silhouette and functional versatility. This legendary piece remains a timeless and personalised addition to any living space, echoing its historical roots and contemporary appeal.

Archive image of the original design. Courtesy of B&B Italia.

Satisfying continuity in form and function

Apart from a few minimal adjustments to respond to 21st-century safety and environmental codes, the contemporary version’s design is the same. Sofas made after 2020 contain either recycled or recyclable materials assembled in layers and can be easily separated once the seating reaches the end of its life — from recycled PET to stainless steel, brass and solid beech wood. With the company’s vast array of textiles and leather, you can customise the outer fabrications to suit any interior.

Both the seventies design and today’s version comprise rounded modules of fabric-covered polyurethane, cleverly connected with a simple system of carabiners, rings and cables to be unhooked and recombined at will. That is why Camaleonda is an endlessly customisable piece of furniture. Even now, over 40 years after its conception, this iconic Bellini sofa still looks more modern and futuristic than most present-day furniture.

Check also: How to Choose a Comfortable Sofa That Will Last You For Years

Photography by Kelly Marshall for Architectural Digest.

Camaleonda upholstery fabrics and materials

The original Camaleonda was finished with high-quality Italian fabrics and materials. Still, you need to remember that if you have a vintage piece from the 70s, it is very likely that the modules have been reupholstered at least once. Fortunately, in most cases, the materials used to restore the iconic sofa are equal in quality and beauty to the original upholstery. However, if you’re looking for a vintage Camaleonda, it’s a good idea to ask what type of fabric it’s finished with – this information will help you take better care of this luxury piece of furniture.

Read also: How to Choose Upholstery Fabric for Easy Care of Your Furniture

As for the contemporary versions of this classic sofa they come in a great variety of upholstery fabrics and materials:

  • Bouclè – you can choose from a few varieties of this sophisticated and timeless fabric in an incredible array of colours and structures. Boucles are fabric blends, meaning they are composed of a few different natural, synthetic and man-made fibres such as cotton, wool, linen, viscose, acrylic and polyester.
  • Canvas – you can get your Camaleonda finished in a few types of beautiful, prime-quality canvas fabrics in a wide variety of colours. Most canvas upholstery fabrics offered by B&B Italia are blends with high natural thread content. They are combined with synthetic and man-made fibres to highlight and fortify the natural materials. However, if you want all-natural upholstery for your Camaleonda, check out the beautiful Bellano made from 100% cotton.
  • Chenille – this beautiful, textured fabric easily highlights the voluptuous silhouette of the Camaleonda modules. B&B Italia offers three types of chenille fabrics: 2 blends and one made of 100% polyester with a high recycled material content.
  • Cloth – you can dress your Camaleonda in one of the few types of cloth B&B Italia offers. All of them are high-quality wool and wool-blended fabrics that instantly elevate the gracious design of the sofa. 
  • Jacquard – you can choose between a few types of these distinctive fabrics in a great range of colours. All jacquards offered by B&B Italia are well-balanced natural and synthetic blended fibres with excellent colour fastness ratings. This is why they are often chosen for open spaces with a lot of light due to this quality.
  • Rattier – this is a beautiful tight-woven fabric that comes in various colours and materials. All types of B&B Italia’s rattier are blended textiles, except for Aramis, which is 100% polyester. The combinations vary from all-natural to well-balanced combinations of natural and synthetic fibres. Rattier is an exquisite fabric with an excellent colour fastness rating that fits the luxurious Camaleonda sofas like a glove.
  • Satin – if you want satin upholstery for your Camaleonda, you will be delighted to choose from several beautiful colours. Adria, the B&B Italia’s satin fabric is a wonderful blend of viscose, linen, cotton, acrylic and other fibres.
  • Velvet – velvet’s timeless elegance and lusciousness make it a desirable upholstery material. If you want this sophisticated look for your Camaleonda, you can choose between a few types of velvet – from all-natural and all-synthetic fabrics to a well-balanced blend that compliments every module of your gorgeous piece. 
  • Leather: you can dress the modules of your sofa in a few types of prime-quality leather. The company offers bull, young steer and cowhide leathers in an astounding variety of colours that will make your Camaleonda stand out in every space you place it.

Check also: How to Care for a Velvet Sofa the Right Way

Camaleonda in olive green chenille. Picture by B&B Italia.

How to Clean & Maintain Your Camaleonda Sofa?

Enjoying the beauty and comfort of your Chamaleonda means being constant in your sofa care routine. Following our tips, you can keep this Italian design art piece in perfect condition and prolong its life.

Cleaning & Maintenance

  • Vacuum the sofa regularly to remove dust and dirt. Use a soft brush attachment to avoid damaging the fabric. Weekly vacuuming should also include the areas around and under the furniture.
  • If you have a leather Camaleonda, you can remove dirt and dust with a soft microfibre towel. It’s also a good idea to condition the leather at least once every three months to keep it supple and prevent cracking.
  • Check the sofa regularly for loose seams or tears. Repair any damage promptly.
  • If you have to clean stains and spills from your Camaleonda sofa, remove as much dirt as possible using a clean white towel. Make sure to blot the area gently, and whatever you do, don’t scrub the stain to avoid spreading it. After finishing this step, we strongly recommend calling a certified upholstery care specialist. Most textile materials used to dress this luxurious furniture are elaborate blends, and DIY stain removal can do more harm than good.  
  • Certified sofa cleaners are also your best bet against heavily soiled luxurious furnishings; this iconic modular furniture is no exception. If you need to restore the condition of your Camaleonda sofa, don’t hesitate to contact us. We have years of experience caring for luxurious Italian sofas, returning their as-new look.

Read also: Things you didn’t know about leather furniture, and how to clean it

Stella McCartney has also chosen Camaleonda as part of the interior of her flagship store on London’s Bond Street.


  • Most upholstery fabrics used for the contemporary version of Camaleonda have excellent colour fastness ratings. Still, it is wiser to avoid placing it in direct sunlight to minimise the risk of fading. 
  • If you have pets, keep them away from your Camaleonda to prevent scratches and stains.
  • If you live in a humid area, consider using a dehumidifier in the room to help prevent mould and mildew growth.
  • Some sources claim that the polyurethane body of Camaleonda sofas can be damaged by heat. This can’t be further from the truth, as this polymer is a thermosetting material that does not melt. 
  • However, it’s still wise to keep the design piece further from heaters and fireplaces because while the polyurethane foam inside the sofa might not melt, some types of upholstery can be damaged by high temperatures.
  • Acetone can damage the materials forming the sofa’s body – polyurethane and polyethene. When concentrated, the chemical can melt these polymers almost immediately. But even in its diluted form, acetone can cause irreversible damage to your sofa cushions. Acetone is commonly found in nail polish, paint thinner, furniture polish, and shoe polish, so avoid using these products near the sofa.

Check also: 6 Ways to Keep Furniture and Carpets Clean All Year Round

Original Camaleonda in bold orange colour. Photo courtesy of Via Antica

Additional tips for taking care of a vintage Camaleonda sofa:

  • Be careful not to overload the sofa. The modular design of the Camaleonda sofa makes it easy to create a variety of different seating configurations. Still, it is wise to avoid putting too much weight on a single module.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals on the sofa, which could damage the fabric or leather.
  • If you need to move the sofa, lift it carefully. Do not drag it across the floor, as this could damage its legs or frame.

Read also: 4 Ways to Restore the Look of Your Sofa

The Camaleonda sofa transcends the boundaries of mere furniture; it is a symbol of design innovation, versatility, and enduring elegance. The use of durable materials and meticulous craftsmanship also make this iconic sofa an investment in quality. With proper care, you can keep your Camaleonda looking and performing its best for many years.