Faye Toogood and Italian Craftsmanship Unite in the Squash Collection

Imagine softness. Imagine boldness. Imagine playfulness. These words resonate deeply within the new Squash Collection, a daring collaboration with British designer Faye Toogood. This collection goes beyond traditional furniture; it explores form, comfort, and joy in design. The pieces invite you to sink into their plush cushions and relieve the day’s stresses. Each item, from armchairs to side tables, radiates a timeless, cutting-edge sense of whimsy and luxury. Beyond simply providing a place to sit, it’s about experiencing a piece of art that is also incredibly comfortable. These creations challenge you to rethink what furniture can be.

Designer: Faye Toogood + Poltrona Frau

An Unlikely Collaboration

When Poltrona Frau, a brand synonymous with Italian leather craftsmanship, met Faye Toogood, known for her unconventional design approach, the outcome was bound to be extraordinary. For over a century, this maker of luxurious leather goods has been crafting everything from high-end furniture to car interiors for Ferrari. Toogood, with her background in art history and editorial design, brought a fresh, sculptural perspective to the collaboration. Their partnership, while unexpected, highlights the incredible synergy of creative minds coming together.

Faye Toogood

Describing the collection as “English Folk with Italian Horsepower,” Toogood captures the essence of this partnership. Part of the 2024 Imagine Collection, the project encourages us to visualize our desires and shape our reality through creativity and design. This venture blends Toogood’s bold approach with Poltrona Frau’s tradition of exquisite craftsmanship, resulting in both functional and artistic pieces, merging the best of both worlds.

The Birth of Squash

During her visit to the factory in Tolentino, Italy, Toogood found inspiration in archival pieces from the 1970s and the iconic Vanity Fair chair from the 1930s. This exploration sparked the creation of the Squash armchair, a piece that honors the boldness of historic designs while venturing into new territories. Captivated by the surprising shapes and distinct designs, Toogood crafted a contemporary piece that respects historical roots while embracing contemporariness. The result is a voluptuous, inviting chair that beckons you to sink into its soft folds, seamlessly blending different eras and design philosophies.

The design captures a spontaneous, relaxed gesture, much like a pile of cushions casually arranged. This sense of spontaneity is a hallmark of Toogood’s design philosophy. The chair’s form is bold and gentle, creating an inviting and comforting presence in any space. The wrinkled leather adds a sense of movement and flexibility, enhancing comfort and softness.

Creating this piece meant digging deep into what comfort is and turning that idea into something you can feel. Toogood’s meticulous approach involved lots of experimentation with materials and forms. The result is a chair that is as much a piece of art as it is a functional object. This duality makes the armchair stand out, offering a unique blend of beauty and utility. The vibrant red leather, a nod to the brand’s archival colors, adds a striking visual element that draws the eye and makes a bold statement.

Exploring the Collection

The collection includes a matching ottoman, a side table, mirrors, and rugs alongside the armchair. Each piece reflects Toogood’s sculptural approach and the brand’s commitment to quality and craftsmanship. The collection, as a whole, embodies a playful yet sophisticated aesthetic, challenging traditional notions of luxury furniture.

The ottoman, designed to complement the armchair, shares the same inviting curves and plush upholstery. It is a standalone piece that enhances the armchair’s comfort and functionality. The ottoman’s design allows versatility, serving as both a footrest and an additional seat. Its soft, enveloping form encourages relaxation, making it an essential component of the collection.

Then there’s the side table, another intriguing piece. It plays with the idea of a soft cushion squashed between two harder blocks, creating a whimsical yet functional design. This playful approach challenges conventional notions of what a side table should look like. The table’s organic shape and cushioned appearance make it a unique addition to any living space, blending functionality with artistic expression.

Mirrors in the collection also reflect this blend of art and utility. The trio of leather-upholstered mirrors echoes the organic lines of the armchair, with smooth glass cushioned in tactile, curving frames. The largest mirror is full-length and can be free-standing or wall-mounted, while the medium mirror is designed for wall mounting, and the smallest mirror is a pocket-sized compact. The frames are upholstered in leather, in colors chosen by Toogood from the brand’s collection. This thoughtful choice of materials and colors adds depth and continuity to the collection, making each piece cohesive.

A Blend of Cultures and Traditions

The Squash Collection beautifully blends English Folk Art with Italian craftsmanship. Toogood’s inspiration from her English heritage is evident in the playful, sculptural forms and the use of hand-painted motifs. The checkerboard rugs, inspired by old English patchwork chairs, capture the rhythm and imperfections of a hand-drawn line. Each square is hand-painted and translated into textiles using the traditional Berber knotting technique making these rugs pieces of art that bring warmth and personality to a room.

The influence of the Italian leather tradition is equally strong, seen in the meticulous leatherwork and commitment to quality. The brand’s heritage of craftsmanship ensures that each piece in the Squash Collection is beautiful but also durable and functional. This collaboration highlights the best of both designers, merging Toogood’s eccentric vision with the brand’s timeless elegance. The result is a collection transcending cultural and artistic boundaries, offering a fresh perspective on contemporary luxury.

This blend of cultures is particularly evident in the mirrors, where Toogood incorporates early English leather folk work elements. The conversation between something hard (the glass) and something soft (the leather frames) creates a dynamic interplay of materials. This approach adds a tactile quality to the mirrors, making the reflective surfaces an interactive pieces of art.