Even before the ‘C’ word came to dominate our lives, homes were starting to be viewed as sanctuaries, and our furniture required to work ever harder in form and function to coset us. Straight lines have been warping and chairs starting to envelop, while the soothing textures and patterns of nature are in high demand.
For the all-Italian furniture design house Cattelan Italia, however, there’s nothing new about this obsession with comfort. From its beginnings in the 1980s, founder Giorgio Cattelan was inspired by the materials and sinuous silhouettes of nature and the all-important warmth they bring to furniture.
"The house is the symbol of one's dearest things, it should be welcoming, both in form and substance. In my opinion, beauty is a function, above all" he said at the time, and this conviction is evident in the bold sculptural sweeps of early collections, made largely from marble and crystal, and later drawn from experimentations in the fine manipulation of woods, steel and leather.
Fast forward to 2022; the company is under the stewardship of Giorgio’s son Paolo, and there is fresh interest in sustainable, tactile materials and organic shapes, precipitated by Covid-19 confinement and growing environmental unease. The comforting and sustainable functionalities we require of our interiors now have a name – wellbeing design – and Cattelan Italia’s latest collection seeks to incorporate it through shape and material finish. Maxim Argile, designed by Pio and Tito Toso, is a round-topped table whose support is three curving ‘petals’ hand-finished in natural shades of clay for a warm touch. The statement pedestal of the new dining table, Atrium, by Paolo Cattelan and Lorenzo Remedi, is made from mirrored glass, moulded with a new technique to mimic quilting, and the plump upholstery of the Camilla chair by Luca Signoretti offers the cosy embrace of a down jacket. They all contribute to a collection uncomplicated and fluid in profile, but rich in the sort of textural detail that brings sensorial solace.