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French architect and designer Jean-Marie Massaud has produced a limited edition Archibald for Poltrona Frau, which bears all that is familiar of the original, but with fresh updates. We find out more from the man himself.

BY Lorenzo Logi

January 16th, 2014

Jean-Marie Massaud is equally at home whether he is designing a flying hotel (aka Manned Cloud), working on a large building, or collaborating with a historical furniture house. The common threads often tying the work together are the designer’s quest for reduction and lightness and functionality.


Archibald Limited Edition – (left -right) Archibald King and Archibald

Massaud was in Asia recently to present his Special Edition Archibald for Italian furniture company Poltrona Frau.

The new Archibald and Archibald King are a progression of the Archibald chair which has, since its debut in 2009, taken on cult status in Poltrona Frau’s contemporary collection.


Archibald Limited Edition in Bright Red.  The design features contrast stitching, a burnished anthracite base colour and metal feet in matte finish

Massaud’s partnership with Poltrona Frau goes back several years but as the designer recounts, he had some reservations when he was first invited to work with the company.

“The brand was not my ‘natural territory’; my way of thinking was more avant-garde. But in discussions with them, I found the people, the craftsmen, the resources [to be] so interesting,” he says.


Archibald Limited Edition in Bright Red

Poltrona Frau, which celebrated its centennial last year, is known the world over for its fine leather craft and elegant design aesthetic, and as the producer of some of the world’s most iconic designs such as Chester and Vanity Fair. The new millennium has, however, brought on new partnerships with designers such as Massaud, and products that offer a fresh contemporary perspective in step with today’s lifestyles.


Archibald Limited Edition in Grey

The Archibald is an example. “It’s about lightness… You increase the [user] experience, the comfort. Only a company that works with leather like this is able to accomplish this,” says Massaud.

Like the original Archibald, the special editions feature rounded, feminine forms that underscore the versatility of the leather. Archibald A however, comes with a high backrest, while Archibald King has a rounded and enveloping headrest.


Pelle Frau® Nest in Agate

The 20 numbered models are covered in Pelle Frau® Nest, a new leather from Poltrona Frau that is highly durable yet soft to the touch. Five distinctive shades are available – Jade, Agate, Bright Red, Grey, and Blonde – which are inspired by colours and traditions of ‘the Far East’.


Archibald Limited Edition in Blonde

Says Massaud, “[Sometimes] you need to concentrate on something till it has matured. “This I did for the Archibald.”

Jean-Marie Massaud

Poltrona Frau is available in Australia from Corporate Culture

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