From fashion designer to furniture designer – Lenka Teilmann, Lead Designer at Furninova refuses to compromise. In this Sofa Talk interview, she talks about trends, good design and what characterises the perfect sofa.
What is your role at Furninova?
– I’m responsible for the design of all of our products, basically in all segments. It is therefore essential that I keep track of the latest trends, not only in the furniture industry. What happens in fashion, film and art are also important. The whole picture is required to make the right choices when it comes to fabrics, leathers, materials and colours. I’m also involved in the concepts we develop for our fairs and shop-in-shop solutions around the world.
How long have you been at the company?
It has been 15 years since I started at Furninova. Before that, I was a furniture designer for a Danish company producing sofas in Vietnam.
What is your background?
I graduated a fashion designer from an institute in Vienna. Here I learned a lot about leather products. Fashion production is actually quite similar to furniture production. When it comes to fashion you think of the sizes: 34, 36, 38… for sofas it is 2, 3 or more seats.
What is the best thing about your job?
The creating! The process, together with my colleagues, from mind to paper is unbeatable. To see our vision realised and presented at a large fair. And eventually end up in the houses of widely different people: from small apartments to large luxurious villas.
How does the process look from start to finished product?
Everything starts in spring when I gather inspiration for next years collection. During spring/summer, I start sketching on the collection. These ideas are then presented to our team. Many times the initial concepts change during the process to find the optimal means of production. When the whole team is satisfied, we start producing prototypes. At year-end, we present the models on different fairs, and after that, we prepare the model for production. At autumn the sofas are available in stores worldwide. It is a long process!
From where do you draw your inspiration?
A lot of it comes from the fashion industry when we are talking about colours and style, for the design I find a lot of inspiration from the larger Italian furniture manufacturers. I also visit several International fairs.
I’m hoping that people’s feelings towards sofas will change. It doesn’t have to become a status symbol, but get the credit it deserves.
What are the trends when it comes to sofas in 2020?
When it comes to models, a lot of it is centred around round, organic shapes. We will also see a lot of boucle (fabric with a looped appearance) and a new type of nubuck leather. The comfort should be soft and pleasant.
What is most important, design or comfort?
Comfort without a doubt. I really don’t like something that is just good looking. Great design should always feel good to use. But you don’t have to compromise; it is most certainly possible to combine both comfort and design!
When it comes to colour and form – what is going on?
The retro style has reigned for a long time, but now focus will be on more contemporary design. On the fabric side velvet has been popular these past years, I also believe we will see more boucle fabrics in the coming years. The shapes will be round and more organic.
How perceptive are you?
I try to listen and spot a trend where more and more customers have requests on specific products. There is an ongoing dialogue that is is very important to us.
Do the requirements differ in different markets?
On some markets, the price is more crucial than on others, so we need to keep an eye on that constantly. Some markets have a high demand for more designed products – it really is a mix of everything.
How will the sofa market evolve?
I think we will see more and more online companies that offer furniture. But I also believe furniture with good design and some edge will have its place in physical stores. People still want to see and touch the furniture.
What characterises the perfect sofa?
The right combination of design and comfort, It is a delicate balance as both are equally important. The sofa must match each person or family and their specific lifestyle.
Anything you want to add?
I’m hoping that people’s feelings towards sofas will change. It doesn’t have to become a status symbol, but get the credit it deserves. It is the most comfortable spot in our home, where we spend most of our time. For me, it is simple: a combination of design and comfort characterises the perfect sofa. Everything is about finding that balance since both are just as important.
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