July 1, 2003
The Dynamic Duo
Sezgin Aksu and Silvia Suardi talk about the design of their Parco seating system.
Designers Sezgin Aksu and Silvia Suardi met while working in Michele de Lucchi’s studio on different projects for 90-year-old Italian leather upholstery and furnishings company Poltrona Frau (www.frauusa.com). The company asked the pair if they would design something for a younger audience. With de Lucchi’s blessing, they agreed.
Aksu and Suardi began with the premise that in today’s rapidly changing society, young people are living in smaller spaces and therefore need multifunctional objects. Their answer: a sofa that equally accommodates working, eating, socializing, and sleeping. Here the designers tell us the story behind their Parco seating system.
It’s called Parco because a park is a place where you can do many different things, like walk alone or meet and talk to people. We had other names, like Dolce Vita, Patio, and Agora—other words that implied doing different types of things. We settled on Parco because it is easy to spell and pronounce.
We wanted to do something uncomplicated, so we began with the idea of a simple bench with interesting details. People want simple things but still need an emotional connection to them. The lines are simple and the details small, but the way the materials come together makes the design interesting.
This top piece is a movable arm module that you can write on, work with your laptop on, or just rest on. It can also be used as a stool or a small bench. One of the biggest challenges was to figure out the right height for the modules when the bench and movable arm are used as a work area, and when you put the module on the floor to be used as a table. We discovered that a height of about 15 inches worked best and was comfortable to work with.
The bench can be converted into a single bed or matched with another to form a double bed, which makes it great for guests. There’s a headboard that you can get to connect the two benches.
The sofa is covered in leather but can be covered in pony skin or a variety of other fabrics and colors.
We made over 200 sketches to figure out the base. We had to find the right combination between negative and positive space. We ended up using these thin chrome legs because they make the bench appear to float.