Leva is the first timber chair designed by Foster + Partners. Manufactured by Mattiazzi, it combines craftsmanship with sophisticated machinery to create a comfortable and ergonomically designed chair. Inspired by the efficiency of form and materiality of an oar, it is carved and shaped in response to its functionality.

Mike Holland, Head of Industrial Design at Foster + Partners said: “The chair remains the archetypical furniture piece and one of the most difficult objects to design – requiring a deep understanding of form and comfort. In my opinion, it is very easy to design a bad chair. The right one must be pleasing to the eye, able to fit a variety of settings from living rooms to restaurants, comfortable to sit on, and durable enough to last generations. Leva is an attempt to resolve these various constraints by combining craftsmanship and a deep knowledge of wood with the latest technological advancements the industry has to offer.”

Capitalising on the tactility of timber, the gentle ergonomically-designed curve on the seat creates a comfortable cushion that encourages you to sit back and relax. The design draws on the imagery of an oar, the steam-bent arms – made of a single piece of machined timber – are slightly inclined, widening in the middle to form the backrest for support. Its seemingly simple shape is the result of complex surfacing that optimises the chair for mass production, while allowing for a carefully crafted finish.

The sparing use of material and detail is rooted in the idea of sustainability – to do more with less. Made of ash sustainably sourced from Eastern Europe, the chair is designed to reduce the amount of waste generated during its manufacture. The pieces of timber discarded during the machining process fuel the heating system at the factory, supplementing the photovoltaic panels on the factory roof.

Leva will be on display at the Mattiazzi stall at Salone del Mobile in Milan from 9 -14 April at Hall 20, Stand E08.

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