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David King talks 1977 Sofa with Neale Whitaker

Shot on location at Hake House of Art featuring works by artist Ash Holmes. 


1977 was a year of innovation, newness, and excitement.   

It was the year Concord launched its first supersonic flight to New York. Apple introduced its first personal computer, and Star Wars catapulted. Saturday Night Fever took over the dance floor, and the iconic Studio 54 opened its doors.   

It was also the year King Living created its first sofa.   

Here Neale Whitaker interviews the creative mind behind the brand, founder David King, to discover what 1977 looked like for David and King Living and to explore the newly launched 1977 Sofa. 



Life in 1977


For David King, 1977 was a time of creative discovery that saw him and his mother, Gwen King, launch what would later become a global furniture brand and an Australian household name.  

"I was in my early twenties, and I remember I was eager to create something innovative and unique.” David recalls. “When I started discussing making furniture from foam shapes with my mother, I didn’t know that would be a life-changing moment for both of us.”  

A time of experimentation – furniture wasn’t the only way David was creatively expressive in earlier years. With an early love of music, back in 1964 was when David was first truly inspired to pick up a guitar.   

“My mother and I had the almost front-row seats to a concert at Sydney Stadium, and it was the Beatles. From the first chord that George Harrison played on his Rickenbacker 12 string, I wanted to be a Beatle. That was going to be my career.” David shared.  

“My bedroom floor would normally be covered with stacks of albums. And seven-inch singles.”  

While David’s music career took off quickly with his band becoming a Top 5 hit in Sydney’s charts, his career as a furniture designer and maker was only just beginning. 


The 1977 Sofa is featured in Leura fabric in Caramel, Biscotti and Sandstone colourways.


The journey to creating King Living


Growing up in a home that was always changing in style, David’s mother, Gwen, was a natural interior designer and would regularly buy homes, redecorate and resell during the 60s and 70s. It was during this time that the pair began making furniture.   

“My mother had the idea of making casual furniture for a particular room, and we did it out of foam shapes.” David explained. “Everyone who saw it said, wow, this is something special.”  

During these years, David recalls many expensive furniture designs being created more for their appearance than for comfortable everyday use.   

“A lot of Australian furniture was expensive at the time. The kind your mother would say, ‘Don't sit on the arms. Don't sit on the back’. We wanted to make furniture where you could sit on the back and arms and really enjoy it.”  

“Ours was almost like a reaction against the idea of the good room where your parents or grandparents had sofas covered in plastic that never came off.”  

“Our furniture was designed to live in and use. It's furniture for living.”  

This early philosophy of furniture for living that is comfortable, made to last, and designed to adapt to ever-changing lifestyles is part of what has made the brand legendary today. 


A later iteration of the original King Living Award Sofa first released in 1977.


The original King Living sofa


The King Living story began with a small stall at Sydney’s Paddy’s market that became an instant success with Sydneysiders.   

“My mother and I took the first sofas to the markets to see what people would think of them.” David shared.   

“Even as we were unloading them from the roof racks, people were coming up and saying, ‘Hey, what are these? How much are they?’. They were an instant hit.”  

True to today's modular design philosophy, the original King Living sofas enabled lifestyle flexibility, a feature as timeless as the aesthetics of the early design.  

“The product resonated with people in the seventies because it was flexible. It would change with their lifestyles. And at the same time, it’s still equally relevant with people today and their changing living spaces, which is exciting.”  

Customisation of the colour and fabric the sofas were covered in was also an instant appeal of the design.  

“The original sofa was all foam. We experimented with foam shapes and covered them with brightly coloured fabrics. The key was to make the covers a bit too tight - this rounded it all off and gave it this beautifully moulded look.” David shared.  

“I wasn't afraid to experiment with bright colours. We had bright primary colours. There didn't seem to be any rules. You could do whatever you wanted, and people embraced it. They loved it.”


1977 Sofa can easily rearrange to suit your space and lifestyle.


Timeless original, reimagined for today


While the new 1977 Sofa is inspired entirely by the original King Living sofa – named the Award Sofa – the design has been enhanced with the technology and design principles over the past five decades that make King Living unique today.  

"There's no better way to celebrate almost 50 years than to bring back our first iconic model for a new generation. It's a great homage to the many years of design and engineering we've put into our furniture.”   

The King Difference is reflected in the 1977 Sofa in every way from its steel frame base right through to the removable covers, which can be machine washed.  

“The new chairs are steel framed. They have the Postureflex Seating System, our patented suspension, and an amazing amount of technology hidden under the covers. And that means they will last, and they'll be comfortable.” David explained.  

“They still have the same flexibility. You can rearrange them to suit your lifestyle. And, of course, it still has the removable cover system, so you can take the covers off to clean them or put a new set of covers on.”  

Ideally fitting into the sculptural and curved furniture movement, the 1977 Sofa combines beautifully soft curves with the comfort and functionality that makes a lifelong sofa design.   

“We are seeing more curved designs, but a lot of this rounded furniture is uncomfortable and not particularly functional. The 1977 Sofa is comfortable, functional, and has that curvaceous appeal.” 


Featuring the 1977 Sofa in Tempest Wattle fabric. Styled with the Bruny Rug (coming soon) in Fern, Issho Side Table, Myco Side Table, Lode Ottomans and Sadie Cushion.


Flexible by design and style


The flexible, customisable nature of the 1977 Sofa is truly endless with the ability to remove or add modules, reconfigure the setting and swap the chaise from left to right with ease.  

“You can fit the design into any space, whether it’s a small apartment or a large modern home,” David explained.  

“They are literally blocks that you can keep and add pieces to when you desire. You might be a first home buyer – if you buy a second larger house, you can add more pieces. It’s infinitely adjustable.”  

The individual sofa modules also allow for customisation of each sofa cover, adding a completely new dimension to the interior design.   

“Rather than one whole sofa setting being in a mono colour, you can have complimenting or contrasting colours. You can do whatever you like, whatever your imagination is. You can create your own artwork out of a piece of furniture.”  

With endless custom arrangement options, the chair modules can also be placed in a multi-directional formation, ideal for collaborative spaces.  

“The setting works perfectly in certain commercial spaces too... Hospitality spaces or office spaces with visitor seating.”  


David King rests behind the 1977 Sofa, featured in Leura fabric in Caramel, Biscotti and Natural White colourways.


Discover the 1977 Sofa


Showcasing the true meaning of timeless design, the 1977 Sofa honours the simplicity of the past while embracing the innovation of the present.  

To discover more, read the story about designing the 1977 Sofa with King Living Senior Designer Sebastian Clarke, learn about removable washable covers or shop the 1977 Sofa now.