Furniture Manufacturers Collaborate with Automobile Designers for Amazing Results
One of the highlights of this year’s Milan Furniture Fair, Salone del Mobile, was the proliferation of Furniture designed in collaboration with some of the world’s leading car brands – Ferrari, Bentley, Lamborghini and Aston Martin all at the forefront. Of particular interest to me were the relationships between two of the world’s leading furniture brands – Poltrona Frau and Riva 1920 – and two of my favourite sportscar brands – Ferrari and Lamborghini.
Poltrona Frau has more than 100 years of experience in leather craftsmanship and a four decade partnership as producer of the exquisite leather upholstery that Ferrari are so well known for. Therefore, it was a natural progression for the two companies to work together to produce something extremely special.
Together Ferrari and Poltrona Frau present ‘Cockpit’, the ultimate executive chair and the first office chair ever designed by Ferrari Design Centre. It is neither a car seat nor a pure piece of furniture or design. Being a hybrid that brings together two brands – a blend of automotive know-how and the Poltrona Frau culture of living – to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Maranello carmaker.
There is no doubt in my mind that every Ferrari driver or potential Ferrari driver will have to get their hands on this chair, an office chair that captures the excitement, the speed of the drivers seat and the passion for racing.
At the moment two versions are available, the President and the Executive. Both comprise a reclining base and seat integrated with two different backrests. The President is the managerial model with a high backrest that is inspired by the ergonomics of competitive racing seats. The Executive model, a chair that adapts to all work contexts, has a deliberately low and narrow backrest to ensure more freedom of movement.
The materials are the same as those used in Ferrari cars and the external shell is moulded from carbon or alutex. Poltrona Frau has concentrated the very highest ergonomic knowhow in the mechanism used to adjust the position of the backrest and the height of the seat. The swivel device sports the same design and mechanical elements as the steering wheel. The 5-spoke base comes in the two polished or powder-coated aluminium finishes in matte racing grey. For the leather upholstery, the Ferrari Design Centre team has chosen shades and finishes inspired by the trim of the three tailor-made service lines, which allow for the customised configuration of the car: Scuderia, Classica and Inedita. Cockpit can also be customised in terms of the colours and materials, if required by its new owner.
Also at the Salone del Mobile, Riva 1920 presented a new collection of furniture in cooperation with Lamborghini Cars. The collection is composed of a desk, bookshelf, table, chair and sofa. They are all characterised by sinuous and stylish shapes, designed by world renowned designer Karim Rashid, to amaze and captivate thanks to the fine workmanship and the quality of natural and genuine materials, such as walnut solid wood and black leather.
Lamborghini produce super sports cars that are the subject of dreams. Many have become icons and they embody values that go beyond the simple functionality of a vehicle. Being Italian, they look for excellence and believe their DNA can be translated in each context, creating timeless masterpieces.
These fundamentals led them in the selection of partners whose mission is to create uniqueness and offer outstanding quality, guaranteeing exclusive and authentic products. Riva 1920 shares the values of Lamborghini’s philosophy: design, innovation, cutting edge technology, emotion, attention to detail and also a strong heritage. The result is a range of furniture inspired by Lamborghini, coming from the meeting of two brands able to link excellence and passion.
In an interview with Karim Rashid I learned that he was greatly inspired visiting Riva 1920 and Lamborghini headquarters and factories. Seeing state of the art robotics combined meticulously with hand craftsmanshi really shaped his ideas for a collaborative line of furniture. Italy is a perpetual farrago of ideas, concepts, truisms, hand craftsmanship and progressive manufacturing. It was also well understood that design is a public subject 75 years ago, long before the world accepted it.
Without companies like Riva 1920 and Lamborghini, design would have never become ubiquitous, omnipresent, experimental and yet of the highest quality. The passion from both companies, with their desirous need for innovation and beauty, inspired Karim to focus on a simple yet sensual collection reflecting the timeless quality of Riva 1920 with slight aerodynamic forms.
Watch for next month’s edition of M2 where I will explore some of the other great new designs featuring at Milan Design Week – the world’s mecca for the latest design ideas in Furniture and Lighting.
Matisse International Design