DAY TWO : LEMA S.P.A

With Massimiliano Strati, the U.S. Export Manager for Lema, we headed thirty minutes outside of Milan to a small factory in Meda, where the company sews and assembles sofas and upholstered furniture. Here, with factory director Angelo Bonacina, we previewed a small portion of the 1,500 linear meters of fabric that would become the sofas in AKA West Hollywood’s 110 furnished apartments. Supplied by Danish textile manufacturer Kvadrat, all 1,500 meters of the Fiord fabric in color #171 (a medium dark gray) would be inspected by hand to ensure only the highest quality.

Partially upholstered Bea armchairs are still in need of their metal leg bases. In true Italian fashion, every piece of furniture is named—sometimes nonsensically—creating a fun, whimsical atmosphere in the factory.

Here factory director Angelo Bonacina unwraps materials that were recently delivered.

Angelo fits a cushion onto one of the Yard sofas that will end up thousands of miles away in AKA West Hollywood. The innovative design makes it incredibly easy to remove, clean, and, if needed, replace the upholstery without shipping the entire sofa back to the manufacturer.

Using a pneumatic leather cutter, all leather goods are cut by hand; meanwhile, fabrics are cut by an automated cutting machine, both for accuracy and to reduce waste.

Lema employs just five professional sewers. After individual pieces of material are cut, the sewing team stitches them together.

Consistency in the seaming is very important; the fabric must lay property on each cushion to achieve the look and feel that the designer intended. On display are several spools of thread that are used during production.

Lema manufactures 12 different type of sofas—many of which have multiple variations. Pictured above, a finished modular sofa ready to be moved into packing and shipping. Pictured below, the underside of a leather Yard chaise lounge.

A visit to the Lema factory in Meda proved that manufacturing high-quality furniture is a lot like manufacturing a luxury automobile. The furniture maker doesn’t make every component that comprises the final piece; rather, a coordinated effort of suppliers creates each of the varied parts to meet the manufacturer’s specifications.