Function and Fashion Rolled into One Simple Seating Solution | Architecture & Design

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Function and Fashion Rolled into One Simple Seating Solution

A lively reflection of shape, tonality and texture, the new Karo collection of ottomans from Schiavello offers us a flexible and refreshing approach to agile working and collaborative activity.



BY Alice Blackwood

September 15th, 2016


Designed, originally, as a low wooden platform supporting cushions and hemp rugs, the cultural history of the ottoman speaks profoundly for how our thinking about informality and ease in our lives has changed. For Ivan Woods – the designer behind the Karo Collection – looking back through the annals of furnishing history heavily influenced the design process.

“The early ottoman can be traced back to the Turkish Ottoman Empire and was designed as a low wooden platform consisting of cushions,” he says. “Reflecting its Turkish roots, the early ottoman designs shared similar characteristics to bales of cotton that carpet weavers used for putting their feet up”.

Looking to design an informal, flexible and relaxed seating product, Woods’ Karo ottomans feature soft geometric silhouettes with tapered edges to allow for ultimately comfortable seated positions. Sitting halfway between graphic geometry and flowing organic forms, Karo cuts dynamic shapes that blend with any surrounding elements – be it for our working or living environments. A striking way to convey the identity of our spaces, Karo is not only a spatial solution but also an active facilitator of collaborative and agile working behaviours.

Due largely to our ever pressing need to keep our working spaces equally flexible and candidly functional, the collection offers that level of diversity in application, essential to our contemporary professional habits. Commonly used for seating, opportunities for storage, or even just as tables, the manifold possibilities for furnishing touchdown or breakout zones – providing levity, ease, comfort – need not be the monotonous hard-back benches and grey swivel seats of yore any longer.

Woods, whose signature use of clean, restrained geometry accented with fine detailing, produces designs that are quintessentially emotive. Brimming with individual and robust personality, his aesthetic expression lends his designs a spectrum of diversity. Karo is very much a reflection of this: playful, spirited and highly interactive, it is ultimately a performance-piece while still offering a lively variety of shape, tonality and texture to work with.

Features include subtly graphic detailing in brilliant red top stitching, un-erringly accurate upholstery, seam work and piping details. Karo comes in a range of sizes and shapes.


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