Designer Lisa Hilland dreamt of creating furniture that combined both of her interests – fashion and design – in a self-evident manner. After a great deal of thought she came up with the Torso chair designed for Design House Stockholm.
“When I was younger I could not decide whether to devote myself to fashion or furniture design. Now I wanted to find out if I could design an item of furniture that combined my interests, that I could dress up in the way in which one dresses a torso”, Lisa explains. The fundamental idea was in place but convincing Design House Stockholm that the chair would suit their range took a while. Ten years had passed since Lisa last worked with them on her Trinity candleholder, and both parties had long thought about taking up their collaboration again.
Lisa sent her drawings to Anders Färdig, Design House Stockholm’s CEO, and the final version of the chair was established using the telephone, email and text messages. “A well designed item of furniture takes time to mature. It has to suit the company’s idiom, it has to function in many different countries and it has to be technically feasible from a production point of view. We sent drawings backwards and forwards and new ideas were added to the original design. After a while we both realized that we were on the trail of something really good”, Lisa explains.
Thus Torso was born, a chair which, like a bare torso, can be dressed in fabric – or a suit – and in this way change character. Lisa talks about the chair as being “dressed”. It is redolent of fashion and the first version, with a woven leather back, gently flirts with the Swedish craft tradition. The chair is modest in expression yet it is visually striking with its woven leather detailing.
The fact that the chair is manufactured in Sweden is seriously important to Lisa who prefers to work close to the manufacturer with all of the skills that can be accessed there. During her career she has worked with a succession of Swedish firms that maintain craft traditions and local manufacture. “Swedish firms are very bad at telling the world how skilled they are, the knowledge that they possess and the responsibility that they feel for the environment. But I think that today’s consumers are increasingly demanding this type of information. People want to know where furniture comes from as well as how it has been manufactured. When one understands how a piece of furniture has been made one is also willing to pay for quality”, Lisa maintains.
The Torso framework is produced industrially in a factory in Sweden while the leather is woven by hand at another factory. The combination of hi-tech and lo-tech, framework and attire, creates a notable dynamic. This is a design that suits the home just as well as the public sector. The chairs are readily stackable and our intention is to make further attire for Torso available in the future. This will enable purchasers to choose the character or “dress” that best suits their environment.