Since founding his independent furniture brand Hem in 2014, Petrus Palmer has steadily built a roster of A-list collaborators, developing strong pieces that express individual style with an underlying cohesiveness. From GamFratesi and Form Us With Love to Max Lamb, Luca Nichetto and more, the partnerships have established Hem as a go-to source for reliable, well-curated and imaginative designs that prioritize longevity and sustainability without compromising contract-grade quality.
The most recent addition to Hem’s portfolio is Faye Toogood, long-known for her poetic and experimental designs that blur the boundaries between art, fashion and interior design. Launched early last month, Toogood’s Puffy Lounge chair mark’s the first entry in an on-going exploration focused on bringing a new level of comfort to steel-framed furniture.
When Palmer and Toogood met for the first time four years ago at her London studio, the designer had already been conceptualizing a chair that would incorporate soft upholstery laid over a metal frame. The two quickly recognized that a chair “that is inherently playful and whimsical while being completely functional for everyday use,” as Palmer puts it, would be the perfect piece for Hem.
Toogood’s initial idea was fairly well-formulated and the development process moved quickly. “We had mini mock-ups for the piece done within a couple of weeks that look very similar to the final product,” says Palmer. “However, getting the minor details right is always the most time-intensive part.”
That final product is, of course, the Puffy Lounge chair, a tubular steel framework draped with a plump duvet. And those minor details – perfecting the point of attachment between the soft and the hard, getting the quilting to drape just right, making sure the materials referenced Toogood’s practice while fitting within the larger Hem collection – were refined over seven prototypes. Inspired by classic modernist steel-framed furniture, Puffy Lounge flirts with the extravagant thanks to its quilted comforter-like upholstery that envelops the sitter in a cozy embrace.
“By using the metal frame, we were able to give the chair a minimal structure, which is sometimes revealed through the gaps in the upholstery,” says Toogood of the design. “The combination of the draped, puffy duvet and the tubular frame make the chair distinctive.”
A canvas sling affixed to the frame offers unseen support to the less structured upholstered element, and is a favourite material of Toogood’s. “[Canvas] is the starting point for so much of my work,” the designer says. “It’s a simple, honest, versatile material that comes from the art world, which I love to play with in fashion, interiors and furniture.”
Shaped like an uppercase T, the detachable duvet is stuffed with padding made from silicone ball fibre and foam and is available in three neutral materials (natural canvas, anthracite canvas and a sandy-toned leather), while the 30-millimetre steel-tube base can be finished in sandblasted stainless steel and powder-coated anthracite or chalk.
“I love the juxtaposition between the minimal tubular frame and the playful welcoming, comforting upholstery,” Toogood says, highlighting the potential for customization of the final design. “I can picture the chair in the lobby of a hotel in Milan as much as I can picture it in a friend’s sitting room in the English countryside.”
The Puffy Seating collection will eventually encompass a range of chairs and stools. “We already have ideas in mind for the next pieces,” says Palmer. “But we’re also curious to hear how people interact with this chair and take that into account as we expand this family of seating.”
Designer Faye Toogood and furniture brand Hem take archetypal steel-framed furniture in an unbelievably comfortable new direction.