Interface knows what lies beneath the surface of the perfect sofa and how a bum’s best friend is made. When it comes to upholstered furniture, what’s invisible to the eye counts just as much (or maybe even more) than what looks good on Instagram. We asked Tuukka Leppänen, the CEO of Interface, to break down the anatomy of a perfect sofa. How are they made?
Everything begins with an idea
Functionality and form—the combination used for making magic at Interface. For Interface, the feel is just as essential as the form, but our process always begins with the function; a great sofa must first and foremost feel good. The design process begins by identifying the customers’ needs, wishes and expectations. Interface prides itself on manufacturing sofas that stand the test of time. When a sofa lasts for years, Interface knows it’s onto a winner—often the customers come and buy a new one from the very same place.
Wooden frame – the bones
The wooden frame is the skeleton of the sofa, and as with anything else, you always need strong bones. Interface makes the frames using solid wood and plywood sourced from Finland.
Springs – the foundation
Zig-zag springs or rubber webbing are used to create the strong foundation of a durable, comfortable sofa. Both the quality and quantity of the springs separates forever-favourites from the duds that end up in the guest room that nobody uses.
Padding – get comfortable
Sofas are usually padded with foam, feathers, hollow fill fibre or a combination of the three. The quality and the amount of padding affects both how the sofa feels and how durable it is. When using feathers, a high-quality sofa will have box-structured cushions for the padding to avoid a slouchy, uneven look.
Upholstery – feeling the difference
When choosing upholstery, how the sofa will look is just one thing to consider. The material also affects the durability and feel of the sofa—this is the part that touches our skin, after all. Synthetic fabrics are usually the most durable, whereas natural fibres and real leather have their own special look and feel. All of Interface’s fabrics, and most of the leather, come from European sources. The company tests every material to see how it behaves at each step of the manufacturing process.
A little bit of luck
Good design, high-quality materials and comfort are the main ingredients of a sofa that stands the test of time. Although how customers react is impossible to fully predict, even to the most experienced of manufacturers and designers. Becoming a classic will always involve a little bit of good luck—and many, many satisfied bums.