Design history: The Archibald chair’s beauty lies in its enveloping design

By Kathryn Chung

Design history: The Archibald chair’s beauty lies in its enveloping design
Poltrona Frau's Archibald chair has taken on various forms since its inception and all have been a testament to the Italian furniture brand's style and substance.

It was in 1912 when a young furniture-maker named Lorenzo ‘Renzo’ Frau opened his first artisan production factory, Poltrona Frau. Shaking off the stiffness of the Victorian age and stepping into the turn of the century with an ambitious dream, Frau introduced a new language of luxury into the home, with plush, voluptuous armchairs featuring delicate pleating and fine stitching.

Italian leather was the material of choice in this burgeoning era of opulence, the soft texture soon becoming synonymous with elegance and comfort.

Over the next century, Poltrona Frau would carve out a reputation as a brand of skilled craftsmanship and timeless style, becoming sought after by European royalty, famed architects and luxury sports car manufacturers such as Ferrari.

By the 2000s, exciting technological developments paved the way for modern experimentation and it was during this time that the Archibald collection was born, its hero piece being the iconic Archibald armchair.

Designed by French architect Jean-Marie Massaud, the Archibald’s beauty lay in its rich and enveloping design. Perfectly placed vertical folds create a distinct wavy effect, almost as if the seat was welcoming you to sit and relax.

Along with its distinguishing features, smaller details, such as contrast stitching and embellishments along the edges, give the Archibald a considered touch of refinement. Meanwhile, the thin feet and slender shape create an overall feeling of sophistication.

Upon release, the Archibald became an instant classic. It immediately achieved the Wallpaper* Award for Best Domestic Design and, in the years since its creation, has become one of Poltrona Frau’s most popular collections.

The series has been reimagined over the years as dining chairs and stools, helping it become an enduring symbol of the brand’s unwavering commitment to style, substance and form

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