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Behind the design: Hugo Settee


Designed by Ian Archer for SITS, the Hugo Settee was one of 12 pieces in the furniture category to be awarded a Design Guild Mark in 2018.

We recently caught up with Ian to find out more about the creative process he undertook to design Hugo.

What initially inspired you to make this product?

Early each year I present a small selection of ideas to a select few clients, with a view to them being launched the following calendar year. One of the themes I was particularly exploring at this time was an exaggerated softness and ways to highlight the comfort of a piece, specifically by its aesthetic.


Can you explain the concept for the design?

The thought here was to use the pillow elements for the main constituent parts of the piece – seat, arm and back. The overall silhouette was to be kept as simple as possible. The voluptuousness and cosseting effect of the cushions emphasises comfort while the sofa’s form was kept as light as possible by using tall metal legs.


How have you struck the balance between function and design with this product?

Despite the cushions actually being quite substantial, the use of the centre seam detail makes them appear lighter. The final element is the simple almost utilitarian black metal legs that contrast the overall feel of softness and allow the upholstered elements to float. The effect is an enticing sofa to lounge in with a distinctive visual appeal.


How long did the design process take, from initial sketches to roll out?

I have a particular fondness for Hugo. From the initial concept sketch, which was hardly refined at all, to seeing the first iteration in the R&D department, the realisation of the design, its comfort and construction was an easy process. Design proposals were submitted in March 2015, with a final selection made later that month. An initial prototype was made early June, with a second sample with minor modifications later made. The design was effectively signed off at this point and launched in-house. The response to Hugo was positive and reflected in commercial success following its launch at Cologne and Paris in January 2016.


In what way do you think this design is different from anything else available on the market?

The uniqueness of the design is the sum of all its parts – aesthetic, ergonomic, and economic. It’s very attractive, very comfortable, and production friendly, so very good value! These attributes have led to a design with a genuine commercial success across European markets, usually with very diverse tastes.

For more information about Ian Archer, go to www.ianarcherdesign.co.uk