Best of the Best 2008: Decor: Indoor Furniture: Poltrona Frau

Ferrari drivers have long enjoyed the craftsmanship and comfort of Poltrona Frau, the Tolentino, Italy–based company whose supple leather lines the interiors of the iconic Italian automobiles. In recent years, Poltrona Frau has gained the attention of a wider clientele by opening more than 80 stores and collaborating with some of the most internationally recognized architects and designers, such as Jean Nouvel, Jean-Marie Massaud, and Monica Förster.

The most noteworthy fruit of these collaborations is Peter Marino’s first commercially distributed furniture line, Linea A ($4,500–$10,600). The seating collection comes in pony skin or ultrasoft Pelle Frau leather (Poltrona’s signature material, derived from an exclusive 21-stage tanning technique). His armchair and two- and three-seat sofas—which took Marino seven prototypes to perfect—are proportioned to support a range of body types comfortably.

Although Poltrona Frau CEO Giuliano Mosconi says that the company selects designers who can enhance its diverse and compelling collections, the names on Poltrona’s ever-expanding roster have at least one other common trait: perfectionism. Swedish designer Monica Förster, known for her edgy yet functional innovations, says that her collaborative work focuses on detail and high-quality craftsmanship, which she has adapted for a modern environment. Her Alone couch ($7,700–$9,600) and Esedra pouf play with pleated, hand-sewn segments and fine comb stitching, references to Sami traditions.

By comparison, French designer Andrée Putman’s five furnishings— home desk, console, traveling trunk, armchair, and loveseat—reflect a more sober, retro style. The Sinuosa armchair ($4,200) uses a U-shaped solid beech-and-seasoned-poplar frame to hug the body. The Oceano trunk ($14,800), a self-contained closet on swivel wheels, attests to Putman’s keen eye for functionality. The piece offers an abundance of drawers, dividers, cabinets, and even a folding minidesk.

Poltrona Frau, 212.777.7592, www.poltronafrau.it 

Photo by Leonardo Finotti
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