Chairs you can send to the cleaners? A trend in Milan
Designers don't like the word "trend" because by definition it implies a lack of uniqueness, but it's fair to say a convergence of good trends could be found at the Gärsnäs booth of the 2010 Milan furniture fair underway in Italy.
While dozens of high-end exhibitors showcased the same kind of quilted upholstery that first appeared en masse last year, Gärsnäs went a step further, introducing a quilted chair that could be easily removed for dry cleaning -- an acknowledgment that, yes, some customers do spill and some -- gasp -- might have children with dirty, sticky, kid hands. The possibility of dry cleaning ultimately opens up the palette for customers who never before would have considered light shades for everyday furniture. Power to the people.
The Swedish firm's chair, called Kvilt and designed by Nina Jobs, managed to be at once streamlined and modern, yet soft and comforting like a quilt. Rather than try to disguise the slipcover-nature of the upholstery, Gärsnäs emphasized it with a thick red zipper that added a lighthearted edge.
Porada went with a similar concept for its Diana chair, and though it wasn't as attractive, it was interesting to see manufacturers working hard to win back customers still skittish about investing in big-ticket purchases.
-- Craig Nakano
Photo credits: Franco Forci / For The Times