A sofa is something you use every day but whose design you don’t often give much thought to. That is, unless you’re trying to create the perfect version. This was Yaniv Chen from Master Studio’s goal, when coming up with the design for the Downing for longtime collaborator Lemon.
Inspired by a lot of time spent sitting on his couch during lockdown — becoming more and more aware of its shortcomings — Chen started to list all the most desirable traits of a sofa, which he planned to incorporate into one design, and while the list was long, for Chen, right at the top of the list of “what makes the perfect sofa” was comfort.
“The amount of time I was spending on my sofa during lockdown paging through coffee table books made me realise that the level of comfort was just not where it should be. Every day I noticed another detail that could be improved — the filling, the incline, the depth, the curvature,” says Chen.
Kevin Frankental, Lemon’s co-founder and head of design was on the same page entirely, asking himself “what would I want in my own space?”’ Both wanted to steer clear of the ultra-minimal silhouettes of the last few years and create something infinitely more welcoming, a reaction to the too-perfect, too structured styles that seem to proliferate.
“Over the last decade the market has been leaning towards very structure sofas for minimal interiors but when we looked at what the common thread was between in the spaces love personally, the common denominator was comfort,” says Frankental. To achieve this, and still conform to Lemon’s signature understated and sophisticated aesthetic was the next hurdle. Chen tackled this with a balanced design strategy, creating a structured frame and then complementing it with loose, 80’s inspired upholstery.
“For years I’ve seen one incredibly structured sofa after another and while they certainly have their place they’re just not what I want in my home. This formed the starting point for the Downing sofa — my fond memory of the sofas of my youth,” says Chen.
The next task was ensuring comfort without losing design cachet. “The challenge was making a comfortable sofa that doesn’t look like something you would find in the garage of your parents’ house,” says Chen. The answer was in the pillows — playfully conceived and overscaled for effect. The result is a large and welcoming, but equally strong design that strikes all the right notes.