Alfredo Häberli has a designed the new Dado system for Spanish manufacturer Andreu World. Launched in Salone del Mobile 2018, and introduced to the UK market during Clerkenwell Design Week, the line is purposefully ‘un-designed’.
Dado is geometric and subtly complex, with sophisticated upholstered detailing. Häberli has designed a modular line, with seven colours that can be coordinated or contrasted, making it a playful sofa system.
OnOffice caught up with Häberli at the Andreu World Clerkenwell Showroom, to talk about the new partnership.
OnOffice: Tell me about the Dado collections.
Alfredo Häberli: There is not a lot of design on it, it’s just one detail which comes together from the horizontal and vertical surfaces. Then I just created kind of a gap there. You have seven different colours to flash a little bit of these lines.
It’s a modular sofa; that means that you have different modules and you can combine it however you want, in the dimension you want to have.
It’s extremely comfortable. It doesn’t look it because it’s quite cubic, but it’s extremely comfortable.
OnOffice: Where does the name Dado come from?
Alfredo Häberli: Dado means dice.
OnOffice: When you designed Dado, what kind of use did you have in mind?
Alfredo Häberli: It’s a sofa system that fits well at home, public spaces, and semi-public spaces. So it’s a part of the two. It goes well for everything.
OnOffice: This is something that OnOffice has been observing a lot; the distinction between work spaces and home spaces blurring. And the design for furniture as well…
Alfredo Häberli: Yes. I think in the last year we had this movement. I felt this before, that design should fit all the different areas, and you should feel comfortable if this is at home or if it is in your office, a room, or in a lobby from a hotel. So that’s the idea of it.
OnOffice: Is it more challenging, in a way, to design something that needs to be so much more adaptable? Or does it give you a certain freedom, in a way, with what you could bring?
Alfredo Häberli: Yes, that’s the challenge. And you overcome it by offering comfort. From a design perspective you make it neutral, not too loud, so you should see the design on the second view.
OnOffice: And where does the inspiration for Dado come from?
Alfredo Häberli: It came more from, even if it sounds strange, from fashion. From the detailing of how you do a shirt, like a suite. With my clothes, when I move you see just the edge of colours. It’s not just the end bit of white line that you see there.
It’s based on the sensibility of sewing a shirt.
OnOffice: How do you manage collaborations like this one with Andreu World? You have to keep your own voice as a designer, but equally, fit a brief that is very specific to the look and feel of the brand.
Alfredo Häberli: I only work with people I like. That’s one of my programs. And I have to say that with the Andreu World technical department was a fantastic cooperation. There was a very good spec, from the first meeting. The first time we met each other, because already a good collaboration, so it’s a big trust with each other. The is a big respect. And I liked the quality, how they treat the furniture.
Of course, it helps when we see which other designers are working for the same company. Like Jasper Morrison, like Patricia Urquiola, as an example, who are friends of mine. So you are at the group working for the same company and that’s when it does.
I think the whole process was one year, a little bit more. But it’s not a complicated shape. Normally when you work on a chair, you work between two and three years.
OnOffice: This is a very customisabel system, with four shapes and seven different that can make endless combinations. As a designer, when you see people picking weird colours and doing things that you didn’t envision to your designs, how do you deal with that? Especially with a line that’s modular and supposed to be customized.
Alfredo Häberli: Sometimes you have to close your eyes. Because, of course, you give freedom. That could be the other possibility is to restrict the customers … In this case, it was clear. I choose the seven colours for the sewing, for the detail, and then I give freedom to the customer. And then embrace their choice. In this case, it was from the beginning, clear that this customer-oriented project.
OnOffice: How would you like people to use and interact with the pieces?
Alfredo Häberli: What I like most is when I go to a restaurant and then you just choose a restaurant and you cutlery or the glasses or the service, it’s yours. Or if I go to somebody’s home and they have my sofa that I designed. But you didn’t know, this is the most lovely thing.
That’s like kind of Oscar.
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Dado, the new sofa system by Alfredo Häberli for Andreu World, is uncomplicated without losing its charm. OnOffice sat down with the Swiss designer to get all the details.