Pedrali has been busy at work. The Italian furniture manufacturer has recently released their new collections for 2020, which champion versatility – a reflection of the extreme adaptability that the pandemic has required from us and our spaces. At the same time, the products do not sacrifice the aesthetic or high quality – or the focus on wellness, sustainability and comfort – that consumers have come to expect from Pedrali. The COVID-19 crisis has propelled the design community into a new era of creation and with that has come the need to work with inspired designers more than ever.

Thankfully, they had already turned to acclaimed German designer Sebastian Herkner to create Blume, a collection of chairs and coffee tables for different kinds of environments. Their collaboration began with in-person meetings, though toward the last steps of the development they switched to online meetings due to the pandemic. But this didn’t hinder the end-product:  ‘It was very productive at the end, and we could finalize the details well,’ says Herkner. Their values matched up to a tee, as Herkner’s work is largely guided by craftsmanship, quality and functionality.

The Blume pieces offer to bring something beautiful to hospitality spaces in a trying time for the sector: the chair, lounge chair and coffee table are defined by their refined flower-shaped profiles. The coffee tables, which are available in various heights and sizes, can be arranged in various compositions. And once the chairs – with sleek frames and cushy polyurethane-foam seats and backrests – reach the end of their sit-cycle, they can be disassembled and disposed of responsibly.

We talk to Herkner about his collaboration with Pedrali, the techniques that went into creating Blume and what’s next for the collection.

Header: Blume collection for Pedrali by Sebastian Herkner. | Top: Blume lounge chair for Pedrali by Sebastian Herkner. | Bottom: Blume chair for Pedrali by Sebastian Herkner. | Photos: Andrea Garuti | Art Direction: Studio FM Milano | Styling: Studio Salaris

Tell me about your partnership with Pedrali. How did it begin, and what do you and the company hope to achieve together?

SEBASTIAN HERKNER: I have known Monica and Giuseppe Pedrali for several years now – we always had great chats at the fairs. Last year I had time to visit them at their headquarters, which was a very impressive moment. Pedrali produces in-house, with a huge passion and vision for production, quality and hospitality design. Monica and Giuseppe are very down-to-earth and give designers the freedom to create something unique for them. I think this is always a good starting point: design is about communication. It is a dialogue in all steps – from the early stages between myself and my pen, to the end, between my studio and the manufacturer. Pedrali and I aimed to develop a sustainable product which could be produced in-house together with suppliers in the area, working with high-quality standards and a unique approach.

Design is about communication. It is a dialogue in all steps. . .

What inspired Blume?

The collection is driven by the idea of making a comfortable and elegant chair for restaurants and lounges. All chairs with metal legs use standardized metal tubes in various diameters. I wanted to create beautiful legs – something you want to touch, something not just about the function. I came up with Blume’s columns, flower-like shapes made of extruded aluminium. This technique allowed us to anodize the surface in several metallic finishes. The seating and back elements are cozy and surrounded with a fine piping, incorporating the waves of the legs.

Top: Blume lounge chair for Pedrali by Sebastian Herkner. | Middle: Blume's flower-shaped profile. | Bottom: Blume coffee tables for Pedrali by Sebastian Herkner.

How did you select the materials that were used for the pieces? Can you elaborate on the techniques, both industrial and artisanal, that went into developing them?

It is always a process, very personal and driven by my instinct and intuition. I work with materials and their specific colours, and it is a lot of work to find the right harmony and contrast in the end.

I really wanted to work with aluminium extrusion and anodizing in this project. I think that through this industrial production we found a certain elegance with the legs. On the other hand, there is the handmade upholstery – new Kvadrat fabrics – which also highlights our approach.

How will you continue your partnership with Pedrali? Any future collaborations already in the works?

Actually, we are working already on the extension of Blume, to give interior architects a collection they can use in many scenarios.