The Danish design furniture brand Sofa Company organised a competition for creative minds worldwide to design their next sofa. It’s been years since I created a piece of furniture as an interior design student, but I had great fun designing Charlie: a modular bench with interesting contrasts in material, colour and shape, created with functionality, trends and sustainability in mind.
Charlie combines aesthetics and utility, providing a comfortable seating, with or without the backrest, on its own or in modular arrangements.
The latest trends in furniture and interior design include tactility, with the ribbed surface as its extension, and the ever popular circle shape of the past seasons that is now turning to curves. Charlie feels familiar because of the simple, friendly shape with a hint of nostalgia. The rounded edges of the cushions, covered in a tactile fabric, contribute to a piece of furniture that can soften the language of a room, equally attractive when viewed from any direction. The light, soft upholstery deliberately contrasts with the straight lines of the black steel frame.
Customers nowadays are turning away from low quality products that don’t last and prefer craftsmanship, sustainable products of good quality. This blends perfectly with the values of Sofa Company and with the expectations and wishlist of my imaginary client. She will guide you through the different options of Charlie, sharing some anecdotes about the use of her ideal bench in her daily family life. Enjoy.
Modern lifestyle requires a flexible approach on the functions of the sofa, different settings and occasions. Focusing on the functionality during the design process, resulted in a modular bench that is not limited to just one set up.
Charlie is designed to provide a comfortable seating, with or without the backrest, on its own or in modular arrangements. There are no restrictions to locations either; livingroom or hallway, restaurants or bars, waiting rooms or lobbies, shops or offices, … Combining utility & aesthetics, Charlie might even be an eye-catching statement piece.
Who doesn’t love a soft bedhead? Or could sometimes use a room divider to create a sense of privacy in a large room? These extra functions may be an option as well:
Current developments in textiles include the increasing use of recycled materials, fabrics that clean the air, vegan alternatives to leather, …
For the selection of Charlie’s upholstery, I’d like tho focus on tactility. We have been noticing for a while now how surfaces such as textured ceramic wall coverings, wooden panels or textiles, are carving themselves a space back into the interior design scene. Tactile materials can be found from set designs to interiors and they are more and more often included as a defining element of design objects as well. The preference for these surfaces is likely to lie in their much attractiveness. Structured textiles or materials with plush and textural finishes invite to touch.`.
“The future of wellness empowers softer relationships with our environments, each other and ourselves. Amid the current touch crisis, tactility informs all aspects of design, lending a wholesome human aspect to surfaces.”
Charlie’s soft, tactile cushions reflect this recent trend in interior design, and deliberately contrast with the material and shape of the frame that supports them. A suitable option for the cushion covers, currently available in the Sofa Company collection, is the Maya Cream fabric (54% Polyester, 46% Acrylic). Other suggestions are Karakorum, a bouclé wool and viscose fabric, inspired by precious astrakhan fur and soft to the touch, and Momostenango wool: a rough, organic handwoven wool from the Guatemalan Highlands, typically used for pillow and rugs.
For the frame and legs I suggest matt black steel for a contemporary style, but they can also be in chrome, for a vintage look, or oiled walnut, for a Scandinavian touch.
- Practical: It’s an option to integrate a zipper in each cover, if customers would like to remove it to switch to a new color or different fabric, or to have it dry cleaned. A thorough, weekly vacuum cleaning however is sufficient (and recommended) to keep it clean.
- Quality: As a Martindale value of 25000-30000 is recommended for high levels of everyday use, this would be suitable for the cushion covers of this modular bench. For the foam I suggest Polyether 35 kg/m3, 100 % polyester. This density is firm enough to sit comfortably and get back up easily as well. Optional functions, depending on the way you use Charlie, can be soundproofing, isolating, …
On this sofa, a light, neutral colour would work great. A creamy white is widely appreciated and timeless, and can evoke a feeling of clean sophistication. You can also add a bit more colour to the basic shade. Hemp, for example, represents the desire for raw colours and organic elements in their purest form.
A great update to the beige nudes that have been strong for the past few seasons: The shift towards pink-casted neutrals in interior design, that offer a sense of gentle beauty. I suggest Flush as the first trend colour, as it is perfect for soft cozy knits and tactile surfaces.
Brown shades with an orange undertone are the third option. Terracotta tones span seasons and work as an all-over statement, as well as a stand alone accent for the home decoration. There is a nostalgic, inviting feel to it as well, especially on a soft, textured fabric.
Feel free to contact me if you need help with trend interpretation, concept development and/or colour strategies for your product range.