As the home becomes more and more a retreat from stressful environment, furniture designers are creating sofas that foster family bonding.
Not all sofas are created equal, especially if they fetch from P1.5 million to P3 million and can survive a super typhoon or flood. It’s not about the price but the lifestyle that revolves around the furniture.
Take the Collar Sofa, the latest design from Italian furniture brand Minotti. Lower and wider than most, the armrests and backrests can hold a plate and the food won’t spill. You can even work with a laptop on the rests.
The back and armrests can each hold up to 110 kilograms of human weight, without capsizing the sofa or putting a dent on them.
“The armrests and backrest can move in three different positions. You pull the flaps to sit and talk, put your head and lie down. You can sit and talk with your husband, wife, sister or brother for a long time and the upholstery won’t lose shape or get damaged,” said Antonio Marelli, Minotti’s resident area manager for Asian countries.
“If people can splurge on a luxury branded purse, a piece of Italian furniture at the same price goes a long way,” he added.
Comparing an “it” bag with the Minotti sofa, Marelli said in jest: “You can fit a Chihuahua in a Kelly bag, but a Minotti sofa set can give you a lot more. A family can sleep there. Here as in Italy, the family is important. In Italy we spend more time at home. They try to get good furniture according to their income. After work, they come home, sit and eat and watch TV together.”
According to Renato Minotti, scion of the furniture maker, their designers consider how people live and work around a sofa. More than just a place to sit, the sofa can be a productive setting. The armrests can replace the side table and the back can even hold a reading lamp.
Minotti explained, “With its technology, you can either hide or lift the arms and the back. (Architect-designer) Rodolfo Dordoni studied every part of the sofa. It can even host 20 people here and you can have a party.”
The multiple functions of the sofa explains why sectional sofas are the most salable, said Minotti general sales manager Paolo Nardini. “You can combine it in many ways to fit in the room. You can put your feet up or use it as table.”
Explaining how a sofa could be an investment, Minotti, the company’s co-CEO, explained that the brand embodies the balance, quality and timeless quality of a classical design.
Yet it is contemporary in that the designs are influenced by research and trends.
Take the ergonomically-designed dining chair. Its curved back comfortably hugs the silhouette even if the person is sitting sideways.
Minotti pointed out that the company creates a comprehensive interior design scheme, not just standalone pieces. The furniture pieces are designed to complement the other elements in the room.
“Do you understand what Minotti means?” asked Renato as he toured the press at the launch of the Minotti showroom at Fort Victoria, Bonifacio Global City.
For so long, the Minotti furniture has been showcased at 6750 Ayala with other luxury home brands and in a spacious home in Makati City under its distributor, Living Innovations.
“Our strategy for the Philippine market is to establish a mono brand store that’s clean and contemporary,” said Minotti.
In the showroom, raw concrete gray flooring and black ceiling project the industrial feel, while the decorative panels in dark oak lend elegance and geometry.
Every element in the setting is coordinated for a calming, unified look; contrast is used to create for visual interest. “The color of the carpet matches the sofa. We chose this colorful painting so the objects can pick up its colors,” said Minotti.
In the bedroom setting, the chrome legs of the table highlight the dark gray sofa. The marble top side table matches the neutral-colored bed sheets.
A big window opens to the open deck that presents Minotti’s outdoor furniture collection.
In another setting, the gray lamp and marble table offset the all-wood tones. Inspired by Japanese chests, the curved handle on the bar cabinet was designed for the Asian market.
“When we create a collection—a table, armchair or carpet—the fabrics and other elements must be in the same language. We study the colors, textures, history and produce them, keeping in mind their combination with the rest of the wood, rugs and upholstery.
“It’s just like a mono brand fashion shop, the shoes, jacket, the bag are in the same as the other. No element is unrelated to the other. Other brands will just present new models but never a complete collection,” said Minotti.
Minotti then pointed to a table with a black molten glass (pasta di vetro) top, named Kirk Cross. The price ranges from P240,000 to P450,000 depending on the wood or metal base. It was designed to match the classic Leonard sofa or the latest Collar sofa.
All told, Ferdinand Ong, Minotti’s local partner, says Minotti has become a necessary luxury. “Every fabric, zipper, foam, carpet, take a year in the making. That’s what people are paying for.”