Design News

Why everyone is obsessed with the delightfully curvy Ultrafragola mirror

With its tall, curvy and pink-illuminated frame, it’s not hard to see why this delightful mirror is a favourite among A-listers, design lovers and fashion influencers alike

What is it? It’s a 1.8 metres tall, curvaceous, pink mirror with a neon-illuminated frame. It’s technically also a lamp.

What does the name mean? ‘Ultrafragola’ means ‘ultimate strawberry’ in Italian.

Who designed it? Ultrafragola was designed by Ettore Sottsass Jr in 1970 for Italian design manufacturer Poltronova. It has been produced by Poltronova without interruption since then. Ettore typically favoured shocking and unexpected designs and he was, by all accounts, ahead of his time. The mirror has a distinctive Memphis appeal, despite being designed a decade earlier than the ’80s movement. Ettore would in fact go on to be the founder of the Memphis Group – a company of designers who became known for their bright and bold postmodern designs –
10 years later in 1980.

What was the design inspiration? Ettore designed the Ultrafragola as a homage to femininity, with the waves representing the curves of the body and hair.

What is it made of? Ultrafragola consists of a mirror and a thermoformed translucent plastic frame, which emits a pink light. Each Ultrafragola piece ever produced has been thermoformed from the single original aluminium mould created in 1970. The mirror is only produced in one colourway; a white opaline frame with a pink LED or neon light. So, if you see one in any other hue, you can be sure it’s not authentic.

Why is it so popular? The curvaceous mirror’s return to popularity might be a nod to the emerging interior trend that champions pastel hues and all things curvy. However, there’s no denying Instagram’s role in the mirror’s soaring revival. Thanks to the flattering soft pink light it emits, it has been dubbed ‘the perfect selfie mirror’ – a staple in the social zeitgeist – and we’ve since seen the platform’s top interior and fashion influencers snapping selfies with it. A-Listers, too, have jumped on the bandwagon; Lena Dunham posed with hers for a magazine cover, the late designer Karl Lagerfeld bought one for his home in 1986, and Bella Hadid has even shot a few selfies with hers. You can also find it in permanent residence at MoMa.

Image by: @mariejedig

Where can I get one? Despite its widespread popularity, the Ultrafragola is a tricky piece to get your hands on. You’ll find one on 1st Dibs for upwards of $17,000, or from the original manufacturer, Poltronova, for a similar price.

Okay, where can I get a cheaper version? You can’t. This design classic has managed to hold its own in a world of reproductions. However, you can find curvy mirrors from Made of Tomorrow and Ferm Living, and there are a multitude of wavy pastel mirrors on Etsy – however, none are as big and luminescent as the Ultrafragola.

Words by: Bea Taylor. Photos by: Pietro Savorelli for Poltronova

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