• 10.09.23
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The Making of NARA by Tigmi

“I wanted to pay tribute to the sectional sofa that graced my childhood home in the 1970’s, a symbol of volume, comfort and versatility. With a nod to my favourite modernist designs, the Nara Sofa captures the spirit of permanence and playfulness that defines timeless classics.” - Danielle McEwan, Creative Director and Founder of Tigmi.

Last week we introduced our first ever Tigmi designed sofa, The Nara Sofa.

Behind its inviting curves lies a significant milestone for us —a step towards a long-held dream. The making of Nara was a product of thorough consideration. From our commitment to local craftsmanship, to the careful selection of luxurious, yet sustainable materials.

Tigmi’s Founder and Creative Director Danielle McEwan expands on her inspirations that breathed Nara to life. Inviting us in to her home studio, she shares with us her distinct design choices and her insights into the qualities that define iconic, lasting design.

 

Talk us through the design process of the Nara Sofa. How did you refine the initial concept and iterate on the design to ensure it met both your vision and the practical needs of modern living spaces?

We had a sectional modular sofa when I was growing up as a kid, which, up until very recently, had been used by my own family in our living room. With only one reupholstery in its 50-year life, it was a much-loved and heavily used sofa that withstood years of use (including many handstand competitions between my sister and I!) I loved the fact that despite its years, it was a beautifully designed and super comfortable sofa that provided years of enjoyment.

When looking to replace it, I realised that the options available meeting my criteria for a thoughtfully designed, versatile, and, above all, comfortable sofa were my favourite vintage designs. Having seen firsthand how challenging and expensive it had become to find great vintage pieces, I decided to explore the option of making something locally that provided the same comfort and versatility but had a sense of timelessness and permanence.

Keeping it to three simple modules allowed for a multitude of options and configurations, as did having a wide and varied palette and fabric options to choose from. I wanted each client to feel like they were getting a bespoke piece that suited their individual needs.

The Nara Sofa is available in two distinct fabrics, Italian Cotton Velvet and textural wool and cotton blends. What guided you in these fabrics choices and how do they enhance the overall design and feel of the sofa?

I spent a long time sourcing fabrics that offer both quality and timelessness. I sought fabrics that exuded luxury while being practical for modern living. Both fabrics have been procured from Italian mills with over 100 years of experience in fabric production.

The cotton velvet possesses a delightful matte sheen and is treated with an eco-friendly finish, providing it with a high-rub count, ensuring it remains durable for everyday use without being overly delicate. The cotton/wool blend features a truly beautiful, soft, and slubby weave that offers exceptional tactility and texture in two stunning natural colours.

It took us a considerable amount of time to locate a weaver capable of replicating the exact finish we envisioned for this fabric, and I'm thrilled with the final result.

Inspired by legendary Italian mid-century designers, what timeless elements from their designs do you believe have contributed to their iconic status and how have you incorporated these elements into the Nara Sofa?

The design masters of the mid-century modernist movement were all driven by the same principles of design: simple, organic shapes that offered comfort and functionality. It is these principles that have ensured that these designs have endured to this day.

I wanted the Nara to follow the same approach - a simple, comfortable, but quality design that allowed flexibility and that would live on for future generations to enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I genuinely believe that we have crafted something with deliberate intention, considering every aspect of its design. The fact that it has been made locally in Australia by hand and with the best possible materials makes me super proud."

 

 

 

 

Sustainability and ethical considerations are important aspects of the Nara Sofa’s Design. What is the importance of GECA Certification and what conscious choices were made along the way? 

Everything we do is viewed through a sustainable lens. First and foremost, this needed to be a locally made product. Besides the fabric sourced from Italy, all the elements are produced and manufactured in Australia. Reducing the carbon footprint and establishing a visible and ethical supply chain is of huge importance to us. We know who is making our sofas and love the fact we are talking to our upholsterers daily.

Whenever possible, we seek out materials that set the standard for minimal environmental impact, such as GECA Certified foams - which is a stringent certification given only to ethically produced materials with low environmental impact. This comes with a 10-year warranty to ensure the longevity of each piece. Additionally, we are exploring the possibility of creating a closed-loop product with the option to recycle the foam at the end of its lifecycle.

Finally, we are mindful not to introduce more items into the world than is required so we are working on a made-to-order model.

Taking a slow and considered approach to design, how does the craftsmanship of the Nara Sofa, being locally made by hand, compare to the mass-produced alternatives in terms of comfort and longevity?

We really want to take a considered approach with everything that we create to ensure it has permanence and timelessness.

I started the creative process for this sofa during Covid in 2020 - it's taken us until now to bring it to life. During that time we have constantly reviewed every element of the process until we were happy with the final design. I genuinely believe that we have crafted something with deliberate intention, considering every aspect of its design. The fact that it has been made locally in Australia by hand and with the best possible materials makes me super proud.

 

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