We interrupt our usual Friday Househunter service (first time in 10 years people) because I want to tell you about a new product that I have been working on and which will debut at Decorex this weekend. Vita is a sofa. But in addition to being a gorgeous curvy number she is also as sustainable as she can be. I designed her in collaboration with Love Your Home all through the pandemic and here, finally, she is. Read on to discover her eco-credentials and how the project unfolded over the last two years.
Vita was designed and made in the UK and her frame, which is guaranteed for life, is, as you would expect, is made from FSC-certified wood. Inside there is recycled chip foam that would otherwise have ended up in landfill, and ‘Cocolok’ coconut fibre which is dipped in natural latex and used instead of petroleum foam to help with the shaping.
The seat structure is made from traditional coil sprung springs, which means the sofa will last longer and won’t collapse after a few years, as many modern sofas do due to feathers and foams not holding their shape longterm. The springs are made from steel which is also recyclable.
Now we get to the sexy bit. Vita comes with a choice of two covers. A fitted velvet one, made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles woven using solar power energy with with no harmful chemicals. This cover is held in place by Velcro which means it can be easily removed for washing and can also be replaced with a summer cover in recycled cotton made from 80 per cent off-cuts from the fashion industry, which saves hugely on wasted material, water usage and carbon emissions. Like the recycled velvet, this process is chemical-free. (The final 20 per cent of the cotton is acrylic to help with form and durability).
So you can have velvet in winter and cotton in summer. Or you can change your covers from dark velvet to light velvet or cotton to cotton. The colour palette ranges from olive green (caper) to red earth (my winter cover) with Mulberry (a deep rich burgundy) and Amber while the cottons are Plaster (my summer), Porcelain, Mink and Portobello. This means you can change with the seasons, or as your mood swings and if you decide to redecorate your walls you won’t need to replace your whole sofa.
The full collection comprises a three-seater sofa (230cm long and 100cm deep) which you can see in these images. It’s a little large for my sitting room but it was the prototype for the shoot and for Decorex. In its place, in a few weeks, will be the two seater at 205cm long. Then there is an armchair at 95cm wide by 92cm deep and a footstool, which echoes the gentle curve of the sofa.
So how did it all come about? Well regular readers will know that I have worked with Love Your Home for years and towards the end of 2019 Leigh Harmer, the co-founder together with his partner Abi Boura (a former Elle Decoration stylist) rang me up and asked if I wanted to collaborate on a sofa.
I was immediately interested but have long been wary of the celebrity designer who just puts their name to something (often a cheque) with no further involvement. “I’d love to work with you but only if we can make the most eco and most beautiful sofa there has ever been,” I said to Leigh.
“I am not a product designer,” I added. “But I have thoughts. And aside from being made from sustainable materials can we make it so you can change the covers too? That way we can remove covers for washing but swap them for the seasons.
“Oh and I’d really like it to be curved.”
Leigh, whose Love Your Home premises has been carbon neutral for the last couple of years, picked me up from the station in his electric car at the start of 2020 and we began the first of what would, of course turn into many zoom meetings. He found fillings of coconut fibre and latex then recycled chip foam, saving it from landfill, and helping to mould those curves.
Loose covers are becoming fashionable again but I love the look of a fitted cover. This is where the velcro comes in (and we looked for eco velcro but haven’t yet found it). It’s standard practice in Italy to fix covers with this so they can be removed easily for washing but you still get the fitted look. I have this system on my sofa bed in the loft and that gave me the idea (we had initially thought the loose cotton would slip over the velvet but that’s tricky to manoeuvre and it’s easier if you can remove and store the velvet when not in use). We’re working on bags for the spare to live in.
A UK first, the velvet is fully Global Recycled Standard certified and meets the high OEKO-TEX standard, as it’s 100 per cent free from harmful chemicals. From its sustainable creation in Italy, to the durable, long lasting final product, this Recycled Velvet is the perfect eco-friendly option without compromise. And it’s about time we had sexy and sustainable in the same sentence isn’t it? Together, these fabrics will begin Love Your Home’s ‘Sustainable Edit’, providing the highest quality fabrics in the most sustainable way.
Leigh says: “As with all my designs, Vita began as a small, to scale clay model. When it came to making, we had to overcome some real challenges due its fabulous curves and tight eco-credentials. Kate and I wanted no new petroleum foams in the collection, so we used an innovative new coco fibre material dipped in natural latex as our main shaping material with recycled chip foam and felted wool.
“There were many raised eyebrows at the UK workshop as this hadn’t been done before, but we are proud to have achieved a true eco sofa collection that will last a lifetime.”
The collection, which you can see for the first time at Decorex 2021 in London Olympia, centres around the sofa. Vita means life in Italian and encapsulates the purpose of this collaboration; to create timeless designs that are built to last a lifetime, be loved anew year on year and totally reject the wasteful world of fast, disposable furniture. The interchangeable covers futureproof every piece in the collection as a sustainable investment, to be loved for a lifetime and to last for a lifetime.
I truly hope you will like her. She will be available to buy from 5 November. And she won’t be ready for Christmas since as you can have her for the rest of your life she’s worth waiting for. I don’t often (ever) admit to pride but I really do feel proud of Vita and thank you so much to Leigh and the team at Love Your Home for working with me on this project. You can subscribe to the newsletter for updates.
The Frame is FSC-certified with a lifetime guarantee ● The frame uses ‘COCOLOK’ coconut fibres and latex matting ● There is a coil sprung seat, with recyclable steel springs ● Recycled chip foam is used to help shape the sofa ● No new petrochemicals products are used
The Velvet Fabric is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. Post consumer PET bottles transformed into polyester thread. ● GRS certified (Global Recycled Standard) ● Made entirely in Italy ● Woven using solar power energy; no carbon and no combustibles ● The process to reclaim the plastic is mechanical, with no chemical process ● High performing; the same level of performance and quality as polyester yarns made from the standard virgin polyester normally on the market ● OEKO-Tex certified; free from chemicals harmful to consumers.
Includes four colours; Caper, Red Earth, Amber & Mulberry. Composition: 100% Recycled polyester. Wash at 30 degrees.
The Cotton Fabric is 80% recycled cotton from off cuts from the fashion industry ● The production process consumes less water and energy therefore reduces carbon emissions ● The cotton is double brushed – softer handle.
Includes four colours; Plaster, Porcelain, Papyrus & Taupe. Composition: 80% Recycled Cotton, 20% Acrylic. Wash at 30 degrees.
VITA prices are as follows:
|VITA||Velvet Velcro Fixed Cover||Cotton Loose Cover|
|Sofa 2 seater||£2,797||£2,498|
|Sofa 3 seater||£3,298||£2,798|
|Additional cover (with 20% off)|
|Sofa 2 seater £1,119||£999|
|Sofa 3 seater £1,319||£1,119|