Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe once said that it’s easier to design a skyscraper than a comfortable chair. After thirty years of searching, we’re inclined to agree. Skyscrapers, for all their bluster, have proven to be underwhelming overlords; kingpins in concrete jungles that offer little in the way of biodiversity. Sitting, however, is a whole other ballgame. The one we dedicate nine hours of the day to. Often without giving it much thought.
And yet finding comfort in the rhythms of work and play has proven to be essential in finding any kind of equilibrium in the everyday. To paraphrase one Pierluigi Masini, it’s only when the body experiences wellbeing that the mind can ride the waves of the imagination.
It’s out of this context that a truly superlative seating brand has bloomed. One that has no interest in creating just another chair. And whose meticulously-made furnishings would have given even the cynical Mies a reason to smile.
"It’s only when the body experiences wellbeing that the mind can ride the waves of the imagination."
Not all technology is visible to the eye. Indeed, if connectivity is anything to go by, most of the best innovations take place just out of sight. It’s the same with Gellyfoam — a patented material that introduces into contemporary living spaces the kind of softness once reserved for travelling astronauts.
“It is a material that can accommodate any posture,” confirms designer Francesco Binfaré, correcting it with all the care of a mother tucking a child in at night.”
Hyperbole aside, it’s a remarkable invention. And just one of the components that make Edra sofas the crème de la crème of comfort.
Nowadays, the core collection also counts on the inclusion of Smart Cushions. Plump, technological pillows that sound like they should belong in the Metaverse, but were actually developed ten years ago in Tuscany. With a slight pressure of the hand they can rise or bend in any direction — movements for a sofa that wants to be in sync with the way people think, rest and dream.
This sense of atomised comfort is typical of Edra's approach to design. Before, it was the sofa, or rather the designer, that dictated how one should sit. Now, in Edra’s world, it’s the user who suggests the final form the sofa should take.
On the one hand, it’s a generous gesture. But it’s also an ancient one, too. Stefano Pasqualetti wrote recently that for all its advancement, architecture remains a basic discipline, dedicated to creating a relatable space that puts men and women at the centre of their own experience.
This ability to put people first or “build to human” is easily the greatest talent of Edra. Through a mix of sumptuous, enticing designs, they seek to understand people in their chosen place. Without ever having to sacrifice on the beauty, aspiration or quality that makes the label Made in Italy great.