Q&A: Biecher’s Vero Sofa for Bernhardt

Christian Biecher, Designer
Vero Sofa, 2004
Bernhardt Design

How did you come up with the idea for the sofa’s design?
I like my first collection for Bernhardt, Abra, very much, as it’s sculptural. But I wanted to do something that would not stand out so strongly, like clothes you wear because of some very personal detail inside. Jerry [Helling, executive VP of Bernhardt] asked me for some new designs last year, and we made some prototypes. These seemed to be really strong, so we decided to develop a collection that started with an armchair.

What’s innovative about it?
Nothing; it is just beautiful. From the front it looks simple, almost déjà vu; the back is almost a constructivist articulation. There’s a circle, a triangle with the legs, and then the square. The geometry is clear. I think geometry is important—really a mark of man’s hand. The form is not natural at all; it has been designed.

What was the greatest challenge to realizing the design?
We worked hard on the proportions. We had thin armrests that looked too designed, so we thickened them to look more regular. We tried many prototypes for comfort. It’s the first time I have come on the market with such an understated product.

What was something interesting that happened to you during the development of this line?
The tables… the understated tables were so difficult! I tried so many designs, so many materials, then they became obvious. It was an exercise of lightness and simplicity. Then every millimeter or degree we were changing was a metaphysical question.

What’s your favorite object?
The acrylic vase by Shiro Kuramata.

Is there anything you absolutely must do while you’re in New York for the ICFF?
See my friends, pay a visit to the Dia Center, and buy sketchbooks at Pearl Paint.

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