We’re excited to launch a curation of exquisite pieces by Poltrona Frau, one of the biggest names in Italian design, on Clippings. The brand works with international designers and architects to create contemporary and comfortable furniture, lighting and accessories. Rooted in the tanning workshops of Italy, Poltrona Frau has evolved over the decades to become a house that has perfected the art of making the softest, hard-wearing leather skins to upholster and decorate outstanding furniture pieces with them. Fusing traditional crafts with state-of-the-art technologies, every Poltrona Frau piece is made to last a lifetime and beyond – no matter if it’s been specified for a residential or commercial interior. Read on to learn more about the company’s history, its sustainability efforts and meet five products of the brand.
On the pulse of time for over a century
Having celebrated 110 years in business this year, Poltrana Frau’s story begins in 1912, when Renzo Frau set up the business in Turin. The name combines the Italian word for armchair, poltrona, and the founder’s surname. By 1926, the company had already made a name for itself with its exquisite handmade leather upholstery: Italy’s royal family, the Savoia dynasty, chose them as an official supplier. Just two years later, the brand reached further milestones, furnishing the interiors of the 1928 Expo in Turin and Italy’s transatlantic cruiser, the Rex ocean liner.
Starting out with traditional designs, including Chesterfield styles, the manufacturer soon ventured into making modern pieces. In 1930, Poltrona Frau introduced the art-deco-influenced Vanity Fair armchair, which is still in production today.
In 1962, the business moved its headquarters to Tolentino in Central Italy, a region that’s long been a centre of tanning workshops. In the same decade, the brand started inviting contemporary designers, architects and creatives to develop pieces for the collection. These included Italian mid-century icons like Gio Ponti, who came up in 1963 with the Dezza armchair, and architect Mario Marenco. More recently, design A-listers, including Peter Marino, Neri+Hu, Jean-Marie Massaud, GamFratesi, and Ludovica + Roberto Palomba have worked with Poltrona Frau.
Then and now, most products incorporate the brand’s soft leather. Named Pelle Frau, Poltrona Frau makes these soft skins in tanneries involving a 21-step process. Every single layer is dyed completely, ensuring a long life as no scratch will uncover a white lining. The bovine hides are sourced mainly from Europe. It is always full grain, the most precious and hard-wearing layer of the bovine dermis.
In addition to producing furniture and lighting, the company also fits out yachts, planes and helicopters with this exceptional leather. Poltrona Frau runs an onsite research facility in Tolentino, where experts test prototypes and new manufacturing methods – and ensure that the brand keeps evolving and innovating.
Poltrona Frau’s sustainability ambitions
New ideas are also at the core of Poltrona Frau’s drive to include more sustainable production methods and materials. The brand recently launched the new Pelle Frau Impact 𝘓𝘦𝘴𝘴 leather, which is made with less water, fewer chemicals and no chromium. In addition, all carbon emitted during production is offset. By the end of this year, the complete Pelle Frau ColorSphere palette will switch to this new leather. Poltrona Frau has committed that all Pelle Frau leathers will be made this way by 2030.
On the roof of its factory, Poltrona Frau has installed 18,000 solar panels with a capacity of 1.4 megawatts. They power the entire site, saving around 1176 tonnes of CO2 annually, and excess energy goes into the national grid.
Five products from Poltrona Frau on Clippings
Contemporary and carefully crafted: all Poltrona Frau products are a testament to these values. We’ve picked five products that will enrich any interior – and that you can now specify directly on Clippings.
Named after the famous Beatles song, the Let It Be sofa is minimalist in style but generous in comfort. Designer duo Ludovica and Roberto Palomba studied how ancient Romans used the triclinium, the daybed on which patricians laid down to eat, talk and relax. The modular series can be configured for compact and large spaces. Its frame and the soft down cushions appear to be suspended on saddle-leather straps, creating the illusion that the seats are hovering above the floor. By making the leather and saddle stitchings clearly visible, the designers honour the craftsmanship that goes into each piece.
AB Concept designed the Viola armchair originally for the restaurant of the Four Seasons hotel in Hong Kong. A fresh take on dining chairs with string detailing, the piece feels light and solid at once. Its frame is made out of solid ash, while the saddle leather straps create the woven structure. The curved back and the tapered legs underline the dynamic look of the chair.
An instantly recognisable icon in Poltron Frau’s catalogue, the Archibald armchair – a design by Jean-Marie Massaud from 2009– strikes an elegant balance between chunky and slim shapes. The leather folds offset its clean lines in the hugging backrest. It’s an inviting chair, making its occupant feel comfortable and relaxed, no matter what space the chair finds its home in.
This sophisticated shelf is part of the Ren collections, which Neri & Hu designed in 2017. The designers studied the Chinese ‘ren’ symbol - 仁 - and translated it into a series of furniture featuring rounded edges and a structure combining horizontal and diagonal lines. The bookcase’s frame is made of Canaletto walnut veneer, holding birch plywood shelves upholstered with saddle leather. Metal accents in a brushed brass finish round off the elegant harmony of the piece.
With Volare, Poltrona Frau offers a stunning centrepiece for spacious bedrooms. It’s a design by Roberto Lazzeroni, who revisited the idea of a classic four-poster bed, focussing on the essential lines and natural finishes. The triangular-shaped posts of the solid ash frame slim towards the top. The elements of the bed structure are covered with soft leather, while two large cushions (available with leather or fabric covers) attached to the headboard create a comfortable backrest when sitting in the bed.
Specify Poltrona Frau with Clippings
Discover all Poltrona Frau on Clippings and start your project today on the platform. If you are interested in specifying Poltrona Frau for a large project or wish to order material samples, reach out to our team who is happy to assist and help you build your specification.