Restoring a 1980s Classic - The Torso Lounge Chair by Paolo Deganello for Cassina
Born in Padua in 1940, Paolo Deganello graduated in architecture from Florence in 1966, the same year he founded Archizoom with Andre Branzi, Gilberto Corretti, Massimo Morozzi, Dario & Lucia Bartolini, a company trying to separate Architecture and Design from Politics. After Archizoom closed in 1972, Deganello continued with his private practice as Architect and Designer. He designed the Torso Lounge chair for Cassina in 1982, its sculptural backrest and 2 colour scheme quickly becoming iconic amongst 80s Italian furniture of the time.
The chair is constructed from a steel skeletal frame. The back rest and table are fixed to the seat by screws which are accessed through the tubular legs. We used extra long Allen keys to remove them.
The chair has 4 separate parts - back rest, seat (all one piece), wooden table, S shaped back cushion.
We carefully removed the original top fabric and unpicked every seam, labelling the 11 individual pieces.
11 individual patterns were then cut to the exact specifications of the original fabric.
Alcantara was chosen for the replacement fabric which is a synthetic suede like material, developed in Japan and manufactured in Italy, it is often used in high end automotive interiors. Super durable, it can not be perforated without leaving a mark so each stitch can only be made once.
The seat of the chair is sewn in 3 sections, each has a 'fly' piece of fabric sewn to it which is pulled through the centre of the seat frame to the base where it is attached with staples.
The complex shapes are carefully top stitched to insure the seams are robust.
The head and feet sections of the chair are attached to the middle section on the base of the chair with zips. Half a zip is sewn to each section and the zipper is added once the fabric is in situ. This allows access during reassembly to the threaded holes for the screws.
The leather foot rest was carefully removed from the original fabric and cleaned.
The original stitch holes were marked up
The leather foot rest was then re sewn onto the new fabric by hand using each original stitch hole. The 2 pieces of fabric were sewn using a machine, again through the original holes which was particularly tricky as it was impossible to see the stitch holes in the leather as they were inside the Alcantara at this point.
The curved arm that folds over the base of the back rest, hiding the staples used to pull the fabric taught over the chair, is a complex S shape and required a new pattern to be cut directly from the mould.
Once the body of the chair was finished , the pieces were screwed together again, the zips on the base allowed access to the back rest and the steel pole legs once again were the access to the screws.
We left the original fabric on the back rest, as its hard to replicate and was in good condition, and the Alcantara was a perfect match.