Sofa4Manhattan Collection: how a Crowdcrafting Experience can lead to a full Collection

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The project Sofa4Manhattan started in January 2014 with a two-day workshop organized for 10 designers from around the world at the Design-Apart loft-showroom in New York and tasked with designing a Sofa inspired by Manhattan.

Right from the beginning of the workshop that was dedicated to the brainstorming and the development of first concepts, the atmosphere was very stimulating. The designers invited had been carefully selected for their different backgrounds as well as their ability to work in groups: thanks to their different professional and personal experiences, they could find inspiration from each other and give original and different contributes to the workshop.

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Brainstorming | Design-Apart Loft

Holding the workshop inside our loft in Chelsea was an important aspect of the creative process. Eating together Italian handmade pasta and staying late in the evening helped creating the right conditions to dream “big” and come up with challenging and innovative ideas.

The second phase of this project took place in Meda, a small city of Brianza District close to Milan, where Berto‘s Craftsmen developed the winning concept into an actual piece of furniture. From a simple drawing they had to imagine and build a comfortable and beautiful sofa in only a few days. 

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Concept Development | Berto in Meda, Brianza District

Very few people are capable of such things and that is what sets Italy apart when some of the best designers want to develop new products. But what made this project really original is the third phase. Berto, instead of shipping a finished sofa, sent all the different components to the Design-Apart living-showroom in New York. We then invited back all the designers and with the help of master craftsmen from Berto and clients, they all worked together to assembly the first ever Sofa4Mahattan prototype.

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Crowdcrafting | Design-Apart loft

For the first time, through an open crowdcrafting experience, a Sofa inspired by Manhattan was assembled inside a design showroom.
At the end of day everyone was really happy and satisfied with the final result and designers, who used to take part only in the few first steps of the product development, understood like never before – to use their own words- the full process: what’s inside a sofa, how it is made and what it takes to go from a concept to a finished product.

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Making of the prototype | Design-Apart loft

 After that intense experience, Lera and Luca – designers of the winning concept – worked together with Berto’s Artisans to create the SOFA4MANHATTAN COLLECTION which will be presented in Milan during this year’s design week. The collection will be available to the public after the Milan show.

We’d like to thank all the designers for the great collective work: Dario Buzzini – special thanks also for helping organizing the workshop -, Peter Antonelli, Warit Tulyathorn, Jerome Goh, Gianni Zanin, Letizia Spigarelli, Marcel Marquez, Joe Graceffa, Lera Moiseeva and Luca Nichetto.