The advantage of fur is that it supports and underline innovative values of a furniture items.
Fur gives the furnishing a special touch, the accent, in combination with other materials contributes to the comfort of the user.
Fur usually associated with luxury, elegance clothing for women and not so often for men. How fur is presented in the fashion industry depends on the current trends. Sometimes, the prevail loose jackets, sometimes fur is 'hidden' on the reverse of clothing, sometimes prevail only details such as caps, Subaru, collars ... or almost forgotten muffs. In combination with other materials such as tweed, wool, fur makes the clothes more attractive.
There is always a conflict of opinion, whether to use natural fur or ecological. The modern technological processes enable the production of artificial fur that looks and have aesthetic characteristics like the natural. So faux fur, like many other materials, provide new creative possibilities, stimulate inspiration of designers.
A little bit of history
The idea of using fur in furniture is not new. If we look a little bit in history, we will find a lot of examples of furniture with fur. Almost all the giants of the design from the last century dealt with this topic. Designers followers of Constructivism and the Bauhaus directions used fur to give a special character and accent to their products with minimalist design.
Marcel Breuer was the first one, way back in 1925, he launched the Wassily Chair with elegant structure of seamless tubular steel. The designer was inspired by the frame of a bicycle and influenced by the constructivist theories. His chair is completely different from all others club chair from that period.
The seat, backrest and armrests are shaped by the fur or skin 'stripes', wrapped around the steel profiles which give a specific note to this design. Bruer's chair was named after the painter Wassily Kandinsky. This design was very advanced for the time in which it occurred and changed the future of the design.
Almost in the same period (1928), Le Corbusier, together with Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret, created LC collection with steel frame.LC4 is ergonomic Chaise Lounge whose coating can be made of ponyskin or cowskin (black leather arms).
Than follow Plywood Group LCW which was created by Charles & Ray Eames, in the year 1945/1946. The seat and backrest are made of plywood and can be with calf’s skin. Their complex and elegant shape confirms that the designers have long experimented with new moulding options and three-dimensional use of the plywood.
Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer had an influence on Hans Wegner's when he created the Flag Halyard chair (1950). He considered the chair as an art object and achieved the very difficult task that it looks attractive from every angle. The designer often used a combination of different materials, wood, plywood, metal, ... Flag Halyard chair is with the sculptural frame of steel profiles, specially developed flag line forming the seat and back. A longhaired sheepskin over the seat brings new quality and a true beauty to the product. With this detail, the chair gets an extra value and enable the chair to adapt in any space. It looks futuristic or modern, depending on the interior in which it is located.
Contemporary designers apply fur in different ways: mainly for upholstered products, but also for floor covers, blankets, decorative pillows ... even as the detail of lighting fixtures .... Fur can be used as a cover for the whole product or only as a detail. The advantage of fur is that it supports and underline innovative values of furniture.
Selection of the correct material for furniture items, which best satisfies the design requirements is a complex process. Speaking about fur it is necessary to consider:
- type of fur which will be used (possibilities, texture, color)
- the way to apply fur (type of product, position on the product, structural solution and details)
- product realization (production processes to achieve designed shape, connections and final finishes)
Where to apply fur
There are different ways to apply fur on upholstered furniture.
Francesco Binfaré created sofa with an unusual way to use fur. The large sofa Pack is with the back created as a big bear lying on his side, covered by ecological fur. This item will change domestic landscape and bare will provide comfort.
Paola Navone created upholstery Line Nepal with applied fur. Their seats are as graceful ballerinas, made of artificial fur of the Mongolian sheep in blue or white. This furniture easily fit into rooms of different styles and purposes and can be used as unique or in the group. This furniture though modern is with a touch of retro style. For the purposes of residential interiors, Paola Navone created the rocking chair in the same manner.
There are even more variants in the application of fur on the armchairs.
Armchair Grinza is interesting because of a very simple design solution for cover. The drapery in a casual manner in soft ecological fur sticks to tubular steel frame and padding in polyurethane foam. The cover is deliberately abundant and makes every chair unique.
Fur can be applied on the back of armchair like on Armchair in Louis XV style Nouveaux Classiques. The horsehair-like organic fibres give a new look to the armchair with structure in the solid beech.
The completely different look has armchair Altry design by Patricia Urquiola . It has also beech frame but interesting armrest. The seat is covered with Mongolian goatskin (black or white).
Elephant Chair is with 100% Sheepskin giving it special appeal, feel of comfort.The seat and back are made from the quality compression molded oak veneer shells. The two shells are pressed in the same press mold, and surround the body in a light soft curve. The legs are designed as one single profile without any visible joints.
Combined with a structural design solution and final finishing materials this chair fit into any kind of interior.
The small pieces of furniture like poufs are suitable to be covered with fur.
The poufs from Popit collection have various options of upholstery in leather, Merino or Mongolian sheepskin. The frame is simple, visible, in beechwood and the saddle leather belt with added studs gives a final touch of this product. Popit pouf, especially in fur, brings the dynamics of the space in which they are located.
Chummy Frizzy is a soft, friendly pouf which has Illusion of fur. It is with the invisible frame, all coated in a long and “disheveled” white synthetic faux fur.
Some poufs can be coated with printed fabric which resembles the fur, inspired by wild animals - polar bear, leopard and wolf. The cover of Napoleon pouf is like this, with a rolling base as an extra option.
Although small pieces, poufs especially in fur, add personality and a sense of refinement and elegance to the interiors.
Upholstered furniture for children
Even furniture for children can be with fur. Takeshi Sawada designed collection of animal chairs: Bambi Chair, Sheep Chair and Cow chair with seats in fur. Three types of chairs have the same base shape but thanks to the back design and different materials applied, each of them is unique.
Seats are made of foam and upholstered with faux fur, white faux sheepskin or faux cow skin. Also, the structures of the chairs differ from fine solid oil treated European oak and walnut, fine European beech wood and oak finished with a matte lacquer finish, to fine European smoked oak and walnut. The chosen finishes of the structures match the seats. The feet of the structure represent special eye-catching detail.
The back of the chair is formed like small antlers or has a sculptural back formed like small horns as dear, sheep or cow has.
Besides their functional qualities, these chairs are a sculpture of fine art with the aim to inspire children to nature.
These chairs are the perfect choice for every space devoted to children. Besides providing comfort they are educative and inspiring.
The fur can be applied to other furniture items not only on upholstered furniture. The multifunctional cabinets In Furs designed by Analogia Project are with doors of interesting, circular shapes, covered with faux fur. This way of provocative and playful use of the fur transform this item into desirable furniture suitable for small bar or storage.
These are just some examples of the use of fur to demonstrate that the materials allow designers to combine, to play textures, formats and to achieve solutions that move the boundary of the design.
I hope that presented examples confirm that the right choice of the material is very important for the product design