I’m a sort of bandleader for my team. We play together, but I lead the rehearsals. The pieces we play are only partly composed. The designer is the one who sets the beat, comes up with the melody – and we look for the harmonies to go with it. What mood does the sofa want to express? How would I like to sit on it?
A sofa is a feeling sculpted into a shape. When I look at a design, I think about how we can express that feeling; how we can marry technical requirements with high-quality craftsmanship and beauty. I think about piping, invisible zippers, drawn-ins, creased upholstery – these details are my passion. They are also what make a piece of furniture into a Walter Knoll product.
The looped fabric of the new Liz-M chair is everything at once: the armrest, seat, suspension and cover. Here, Oliver Siegelin is pulling it over the chair’s frame
We figure out solutions as a team. The upholsterers and seamstresses explore ideas and paths. We might think that a folded seam on a delicate armrest would be nice, though it’s not until we have the life-sized model standing in front of us that we can decide whether it works. We strive for perfection and feasibility. The art lies in achieving both.
Multicolor threads give the fabric a three-dimensional look
Often years go by before a design is ready for the production line. I always ask myself: are we on the right path? Should we consider pursuing a previous idea? Taking a break from the design can also be helpful. In the case of the Leadchair range, the balance between form and function had to be reconciled. We then felt we needed to give the upholstery more of a meaningful character. At some point I came across the club chair that Walter Knoll introduced in Germany in 1907: could we take some element from this perfect structure for our chair? When we find solutions like that – that is a phenomenal feeling.