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Friday, June 14, 2024

Designing Katō with creative brilliance

Designers Phil Bennett and Alex Ranson share the ideas and inspiration behind the new Katō armchair from premium furniture brand Boss.

The design thinking behind Katō was always to showcase the woodworking and engineering expertise that defines Boss. Beautiful show-wood furniture has long been our strong suit but this time we wanted to produce a statement piece, so we began sketching ideas for a timber armchair with an exo-frame supporting an upholstered seat and back. This would enable us to put as much wood on display as possible.

An organic structure

Our vision for the frame was to create a subtle design aesthetic that whispers of timeless simplicity. Its cylindrical legs and cross member rails look like they’re turned the traditional way, but are actually precision engineered using our five-axis CNC woodworking equipment. We use similarly advanced technology to machine the mortise, tenon and comb joints which create smooth, organic transitions between the vertical and horizontal elements of the structure. Assembled and finished by hand, the frame looks and feels crafted and sculpted. Combining traditional woodworking skills with silicon age technology, we’ve managed to give Katōa timeless quality.

That’s exactly what we wanted for our new chair. There may have been mid-century modern, Scandinavian and Japanese influences in our sketches, but we consciously steered away from anything retro. Katō needed a stylish and contemporary feel.

A sensory experience

Wrapping around the sides and back of the chair in a horseshoe shape, the arm rail caps off the design and turns Katō into the statement piece we wanted. This element of the exoskeleton proved to be an exciting challenge as we searched for a form that would invite the sitter in and give the design a unique and memorable quality.

The gently curved surface of the armrest was an instant hit when we trialled Katō with prospective customers. It performs its function perfectly when the sitter alights in or rises from the chair. While seated their fingertips are naturally drawn to the wood grain texture, which turns Katō into a wonderful sensory experience.

Detail matters

Subtle and minimal, the upholstered seat and back continue the timeless simplicity built up in the woodwork. This allows the timber to stand to the fore and make a visual and tactile impact, while small, considered details in the design of the cushioning speak of comfort.

The crisp look of the back is softened with a horizontal pull stitch that gathers the fabric for a plush effect. Perfectly parallel with the back rail, this seam guides the eye along the line across the back while breaking up the uniformity of the cushion and creating a transition between the arms on either side. Meanwhile, the rear corners of the back rest at the apexes of the finger joints, seamlessly connecting the arms to the back rail – another satisfying touch for anyone with an eye for detail.

Simple shapes, high-quality materials and a crafted finish give Katō its aura of refined comfort – an elegant statement of timeless simplicity and comfort.

bossdesign.com | IG: @wearebossdesign

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