Floris Hovers Shares How He Reinterpreted the Sofa for Red Stitch

08.17.21 | By
Floris Hovers Shares How He Reinterpreted the Sofa for Red Stitch

Dutch furniture brand Red Stitch enlisted the creative mind of Dutch designer Floris Hovers back in 2019 “to release all conventions and create a new sofa sprung from his free creative mind.” The design process didn’t begin where it normally does with sketches, and instead Floris made a miniature sofa from found materials in his Raamsdonksveer workshop. “Most designers start from an upholstery point of view. I wanted to start with the frame as a focal point,” says Floris. After COVID-19-related delays, the FLOAT Collection has officially launched with a 3-seater sofa, 2-seater sofa, chair and footstool, each comprising two elements – the wooden frame and the upholstered cushions that slide over it. The benefit to the slide on cushions is that they can be changed out for other colors when desired. Speaking of colors, the cushions come in your choice of three colors – Royal 6 – ocre, Royal 9 – green, and Royal 18 – blue – with three frame colors that match – RAL 8001 – ocre, RAL 7033 – green, and RAL 7031 – blue – all of which can be mixed and matched for different looks. For this month’s Deconstruction, we’re sharing Floris Hovers’ unconventional design process of the FLOAT collection.

When Dutch furniture brand Red Stitch asked renowned designer Floris Hovers to make his interpretation of the sofa, he immediately decided that he didn’t want to make yet another styled variation of the sofa archetype. Based on his never-ending childlike imagination Floris started with the raw idea of creating something that fit his workflow and that is creating and making the prototype himself in miniature format from different materials available in his workshop in Raamsdonksveer, the place where he grew up and still lives.

Floris started by constructing the sofa frame with little wooden planks. He intended to make it a prominent esthetic element of the design.

Feeling confident about its proportions Floris started with the second and final component, the upholstered cushions. Being a creator he grabbed a cleaning cloth from the kitchen pantry and started drawing the sewing template.

The good thing about cleaning cloth is that it is easy to cut without the chance to fray, because it’s a microfibre material, it’s cheap and within reach. After cutting the templates from the cloth, Floris finished the cover by adding stitch work to fix the tails.

Floris wanted the cushions to be really comfortable and invitingly round and fat. He filled up the cover with cotton wool. After coating the frame the miniature prototype is ready. The advantage of a miniature prototype is that you can actually hold it in your hands and look at it from every possible angle.

After approval of the concept and its proportions, Floris made a technical sheet for the frame construction department.

The Red Stitch production facility has both an upholstery and construction department that includes CNC milling machines under one roof. Red Stitch and Floris Hovers decided that the frame is constructed from birch plywood with beech for extra strong support. Because Floris wanted the frame to be color coated, the difference in texture is marginally visible. The steel No Sag springs are for extra sitting comfort and the slots are to strap the seat cushions to the Velcro.

Floris didn’t want the upholstery to be stapled to the frame in order to simplify the process of changing it. Initially Red Stitch experimented with dividing the seat into two separate cushions, but this disrupted the logic simplicity of the design, so they changed it into a single cushion. The side and back cushions are attached to the frame by simply sliding them on and off the plywood side and backrests.

Colorization is a vital element of all of Floris’ work. For the launch of the Float collection Floris selected some colors from the Royal collection by Danish Art Weaving. Its color scheme is based on the colors Danish designer Arne Jacobsen used for his quintessential design of the Royal SAS hotel in Copenhagen. The frame colors are matched and are interchangeable to create exciting color combinations.

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Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.