The launch of the Model 05 is just around the corner, and in usual Swyft fashion, we’ve interviewed the designer.
We spoke to Beck Wyld to get a better understanding of what we were trying to achieve with Model 05, how it differs from our other collections and what challenges were faced with the design.
Q: What are we trying to achieve with Model 05?
We wanted this new collection to reflect feedback from our customers, while also offering a design which is inline with our current style and hits upcoming trends. One of the most requested features was a higher back and the Model 05 provides this. A need for new, bold colours and deeper seats has also been on the radar for our customers, so the new collection offers this too.
Due to its higher back and the illusion of a deeper seat, it’s a good option to refer customers too if they aren‘t happy with their current Swyft sofa.
Q: What inspired Model 05?
We carried out a lot of market research before designing the Model 05. Generally, we wanted to aim the collection at a younger age bracket. The research suggested, we needed to continue with a contemporary style, as most homes within the UK adopt a Scandinavian or contemporary feel. So, from my point of view, the design had to be a completely unemotional decision which made sense for the company. ‘Contemporary’ fits within Swyft’s current offering and style, so the new collection follows this trajectory.
I wanted the style to not look tacky or cheap, so we went with a design that was fresh, soft and stylish (I mean, would you expect anything else from Swyft?). I also worked with the marketing team to understand user experience across our platforms to ensure the design would look good. Most of our users will browse on mobile, either through Instagram or the website, this meant the design had to look great in a small square shaped image. We had to think of how we could make a sofa look soft and appealing on a small image. The result was to add curves to the arms and seat.
Q: How does the Model 05 differ from our other collections?
There are quite a few differentiations to our other sofas. For example, the seat uses zig zag springs, which creates the dome shape (we’d usually use elasticated webbing, but opted for springs). The seat still has our medium-density foam, topped with a layer of softer foam and a layer of dacron for added comfort and softness. The dome shape means there’s a lot of travel when you sit on the sofa, exaggerating that sinking feel.
It’s also a fixed seat, which we haven’t had on any other Model, bar the Model 03. There‘s a two degree angle on the seat, which makes you sit back in the seat. It makes the seat feel deeper than it actually is, which is helped by the angled back. The back comes with a 10 degree angle, so when you sit back on the sofa it swallows you up. This is another reason why we added bigger back cushions because the angle requires more back support.
Customers also asked for thicker arms, so we’ve gone for thicker arms which have soft curves, which can be the perfect head rest when snoozing. The ergonomics are a lot better on this sofa, in my opinion.
Visually, we have four new fabrics which aren’t available in our other collections: mustard, blush, charcoal, and turquoise which gives the Model 05 a big, loud personality.
Q: How did you go about designing Model 05, what’s the process?
We start by doing the research. Once we’ve come up with a shape we like, we put this into photoshop to visually understand what we’re playing with. We then use a designer software known as CAD to start modelling. As soon as the design is agreed, we’ll create the frame in CAD and send the design off to be made into prototypes. We then work with the upholsterer to work with the frame and fabrics . Once all of this is sorted, we work with suppliers to ensure we have all the materials ready to start production.
Q: How long has it taken to design 05, from concept through to launch?
I started work on it in January with the aim to launch in October, but due to the factory move we pushed back the launch to November. So, it’s taken us 10 – 11 months, our longest production yet.
Q: From a design perspective, what areas were the most challenging?
The arms are set back so the front of the seat protrudes in front of the arms, which is a completely new design for Swyft. This made thinking about the Swyft-lok differently as we had new areas that had to engage with the arm; we had to make sure the lug area was connected properly.
Another big challenge was to make sure the transfer of ergonomic designs correctly with the in-house manufacturing. For example, ensuring the dome seat, from a style point of view, had the right curve towards the front. This involved a lot of fabric templating.
If you’ve enjoyed this blog, you might also like reading the interviews for our other new products: The Model A and B coffee table and side table, the Model C cork side table, and the Model 01 & 02 footstools and ottomans.