Five Furniture Brands That Challenge Conventional Design

Who are the Maverick brands in the furniture industry when it comes to independent designs? We look at five of the most prominent furniture brands that never follow trends but innovate. Their approach to design is unconventional as their furniture pieces seem to have a mind of their own. Backed by a host of notable design greats, some of these pieces are sure to blow your mind and defy logic when you first lay your eyes on them.

Meritalia – Aesthetic Punch ’80s

Sofa Meritalia Montanara

Meritalia Montanara designed by Gaetano Pesce. Photo: Meritalia.

Meritalia’s roots go back to 1987 when it was founded by Giulio Enrico Meroni. His passion for upholstered furniture and interior accessories for homes led the brand to attract famous designers such as Mario Bellini, Alexandre Mendini, Fabio Novembervi, Gaetano Pesci and the Castiglioni brothers. Meritalia furniture is often seen as playful, whimsical, cheerful, imaginative and also irresistibly collectible. Many of these design greats aren’t afraid to design the most challenging pieces of furniture. Their innovative ideas don’t take jobs out the window.

Meritalia Lamicita

Meritalia LaMichetta designed by Gaetano Pesce offers a unique look of buttons. Photo: Meritalia.

Iconic pieces include the “La Michetta” sofa, where the concealed upholstery is made of twill, while the foam filling is derived from polyurethane. This modular piece is eye-catching and highly flexible to adapt to any room size. The “Montanara” sofa developed by Gaetano Pesce is inspired by the grandeur of the mountain scenery, complete with a tiered waterfall.

Idra – Doraemon Design Tuscany

Edra Pack . sofa

Edra Pack sofa by Francesco Binfare. Photo: Idra.

Edra may not be a household name but in the furniture industry, she is always determined to push boundaries with design and aesthetics without compromising overall comfort. Some of their iconic pieces are timeless and elegant, backed by the artistic traditions of making them. The brand delves into technological research on materials, sustainability, and expertise in the furniture industry. They embrace the philosophy that every piece of furniture is treated like making jewelry. Its founders Valerio and Monica Mazzei are both second-generation furniture makers. Their belief in working with some of the best furniture designers in the world to create some of the most unconventional designs to surprise and delight the senses.

edra back sofa

The Edra Pack sofa provides a sleeping polar bear as a backrest. Photo: Idra.

The Island Sofa System “Pack” designed by Francesco Binfare is a tongue-in-cheek sofa with a sleeping polar bear. The base of the sofa is called “snow bag” while the bear lying on its side acts as a backrest. Unique in the upholstery is a very comfortable feather-covered jelly foam with a special fabric where the texture resembles layers of snow! The backrest is made of eco-friendly fur lined with plush polyester. This gorgeous sofa was awarded the 2017 Salone del Mobile Milano Award for “Product of the Year”.

edra rose chair

Edra Rose chair by Masanori Umeda. Photo: Idra.

Interested in sitting on a rose? It may seem highly out of the question but in the mind of Masanori Umeda, her “pink chair” is made up of undulating petals made up of plush wadding. The welcome seat is meticulously assembled as each petal is handcrafted and sewn together. The frame is cast from metal with smaller parts machined from wood. The velvet upholstery ensures that you get the richest experience from sitting on it.

Seletti – Pop Art Furniture

Seletti Closesox side table

Seletti Colossux side table by Studio Job. Photo: Seletti.

Since its inception in 1964 in Cicognara, Mantova, Italy, Seletti’s design philosophy has always been around innovation and originality with a dose of whimsical. While the brand strives for Italian excellence, it always pushes boundaries with its intriguing designs led by some of the most creative design minds in the furniture and home d├ęcor industry. Incorporating artistic aesthetics into everyday icons such as tables, lamps and panels without losing functionality, Seletti has become a unique, personal and fun brand for furniture/home decor. Some of the unique and stunning pieces include the “Colossux” side table that takes inspiration from the feet of the mysterious gods. Designed by Studio Job, the sturdy foot is in fact a resin glass side table that radiates a mythical and divine aura if placed inside.

Seleti Kintsugi Hybrid Boards

Kintsugi by Italian designer Marcantonio paintings for Seletti, which fuses European design with Japanese technique. Photo: Seletti.

Second, Seletti’s “Kintsugi” series of hybrid home decor items such as cutlery is about adopting the Japanese technique of repairing broken pottery through “golden carpentry”. Italian designer Marcantonio reinterprets Kintsugi with the Seletti + Marcantonio collaboration. He created an interesting and contemporary look for European style cutlery for a Kintsugi makeover. These pieces are designed to make your guests wander.

Moooi – Bold Dutch Design

Moooi Charleston chair

Moooi Charleston armchair by Marcel Wanders Studio. Photo: Moooi.

Designed by Marcel Wanders who hails from the land of windmills, canals and wooden shoes, Moooi Furniture is about an “extraordinary life.” Wanders was formed in 2001, with Casper Vissers promising to create a legendary furniture brand where breathtaking designs are embodied in ordinary things like chandeliers, armchairs and sofas. The extra “o” in Moooi is to convey something extra in terms of beauty and uniqueness. Fast forward 20 years, Moooi is nothing short of high drama.

Moooi Charleston chair.

Do you have a seat on this armchair or sofa? It’s your decision. Moooi’s Charleston sofa by Marcel Wanders Studio. Photo: Moooi.

Today, her collection of famous designers is expanding. This includes incredible design talents like Front, Bertjan Pot, Jaime Hayon, Maarten Baas, Nika Zupanc, and Ron Gilad, to name a few. Some of Moooi’s iconic pieces include the Charleston sofa designed by Marcel Wanders. Is it a sofa or an armchair? The gravity-defying piece really messes with your mind. This is a classic Charleston sofa that flips on its side to become an armchair.

Moooi Blow Away Vase

Moooi “Blow Away Vase” from Front. Photo: Moooi

The “Blow Away” vase, designed by three girls named Front, has teamed up with Royal Blue Delft to make this stunning ceramic vase look like a hanging cartoon. The vase is laid flat, but it seems to have been blown aside by a strong wind. The Royal Delft has been the original ceramic maker since 1653, and only through their experience could this exotic but practical vase be created.

Foundation & Sons – Edge British Design

Founder & Sons

The “Stack drawer” system by Raw Edges / Shay Alkalay for Founded & Sons defies logic. Image: Founding and Sons.

Dusted and Sons may be a talker, but this British furniture brand stands for all things innovative and contemporary in design. Founded in 2005 by Angad Paul, Sebastian Runge and formerly Mark Holmes Wall paper Alasdhair Willis magazine and marketing specialist Tamara Caspersz, the brand focused on combining British design with cutting-edge manufacturing. Paul’s extensive knowledge of the steel industry was the feather on the cap, however, he died in 2015 from a fall. Today, it’s still a furniture brand that tends to shock and challenge our human standards of logic and sensitivity. Many of his designs push the limits of physicality and even the laws of physics. Backed by skilled craftsmen and modern manufacturing techniques, the “Foundation & Sons” brand owns many exquisite pieces.

Founded and Sons

The stacking drawers can be opened in both directions. Image: Founding and Sons.

Here are some of them: The “Stack drawer” system from Raw Edges / Shay Alkalay takes a funky approach to drawer design. This hanging piece is multicolored and each drawer appears to be hanging on top of each other while allowing one to open in both directions. The irregular shape and cheerful color make the Stack an iconic product from Founded & Sons.

Founding and Sons

‘Flying Chair’ was created by Sebastien Rung & Sons. Image: Founding and Sons.

The “jumping chair” by Bertjan Pot is a strange experiment in stretching a jacket across the body of an armchair. Colorful striped upholstery from the iconic Leap wraps this armchair through a meticulous process. The end result is an armchair with a comical look that is not without comfort and functionality.

Founded and Sons

We & Sons created “Sofa Quilt” by Bouroullec Brothers. Image: Founding and Sons.

And let’s not forget that the ‘quilt’ sofa and armchair seating system were designed by the Bouroullec brothers. Here, honeycomb-like upholstery runs across the blocky cushioning structure.

Don’t forget to check out furniture brands that focus on one material here.

For more decor readings, click here.