DAY THREE : LIVING DIVANI

It’s a small, family-run business, but Living Divani has built a huge reputation around the world for the quality of their upholstered goods. Living, as it’s referred to in the trade, is helmed by founder Renata Pozzoli, pictured here with her daughter, Carola Besteti, who oversees marketing for the brand. We visited their headquarters, designed by Piero Lissoni in 2007, in Anzano del Parco to learn more about the upholstery process.

Living recently constructed a new building in Anzano del Parco, connected to the original, in order to expand its production facilities.

Consistently precise sewing is the key to quality. Living matches each fabric type against the manufactured furniture, ensuring that the seaming will reflect the designer’s vision. Depending on the shape of the cushion, some fabrics simply will not work.

In order to meet the demand of production schedules, Living maintains an extensive inventory of leather.

Unlike traditional fabric, leather must be carefully cut by hand after the pattern has been traced with chalk. The attention to detail regarding the selection of leather is of paramount importance; the chosen hide must be free of blemishes, scratches, or marks, and for AKA’s sofas, only the softest leather is acceptable.

In the assembly area, the Living Divani crew fits custom covers onto chairs and sofas. The factory is small and personal–many of the employees have been working with the firm for over a decade, some for more than 20 years. They are meticulous–never sloppy nor accepting of an upholstered finished product that isn’t perfect.

Unlike inferior manufacturers, Living Divani creates goods where the upholstery is easily removable for cleaning. The fabric covers, while form-fitting, are not stapled to the sofa or chair frame, but are either zippered or held in place with hidden Velcro strips. For AKA, this removable construction allows us to easily dry-clean in the event of a stain.

In Living’s large showroom, two Piero Lissoni-designed Confident chairs are featured. These comfortable chairs, designed in 2011, are used in several of AKA’s public spaces. Bottom left, completed sofas await final inspection before shipping. Lower right,Carola Besteti and her father, review a stitching detail for a seam. A customer asked Living to choose the best match for a small diameter of piping to be sewn.

The semi-soft molds that will form the structure of Reader High-Back chairs will soon be covered in fabric. AKA has used these chairs, with swivel bases, across many properties. Below completed Reader High-Back chairs in the Living showroom.

Living maintains a large inventory of fabrics; this is necessary to ensure on-time production. Customers can also supply their own fabrics; AKA works mostly with Kvadrat, the leading Danish textile manufacture for fine, upholstered goods rooted in Scandinavia’s design tradition.

Two custom fabric cutting machines ensure accuracy and reduce the amount of fabric required, as the patterns are fit as tightly as possible on the fabric role. An automated fabric cutting machine shows the pieces required for a sofa.

Living Divani is a brand of great renown—which is not surprising when considering their quality upholstery, impeccable workmanship, and attention to detail. It’s apparent how much care goes into each sofa and chair—from testing fabric styles down to determining how that fabric will fit and appear visually on custom furniture.