Award-winning design and its makers: the sofa “Uptown”

In February, 39 experts from all over the world convened in Essen to assess thousands of objects for the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2017 in a process spanning several days. Only designs that won over the jury with their high design quality were awarded the sought-after distinction “Red Dot”, and the best of them received the highest award “Red Dot: Best of the Best” – among them: the sofa “Uptown” by Paola Lenti, designed by Francesco Rota.

Organic arrangement
Sofas serve to structure interiors and create resting areas that invite users to settle down and relax. In this sense, the Uptown sofa offers many possibilities of free and flexible arrangements. The series is composed of left and right, linear and shaped sectional elements, a chaise longue as well as a pouf. The individual modules allow to vary the composition chosen over time, actively inviting users to relax and rearrange them. Showcasing soft rounded edges, the shape is reminiscent of stones smoothed by air and water. The transitions are floating and there are no clear demarcations between front and back as well as seating area and backrest. At the same time, they fascinate with soft surfaces and removable upholstery covers that are available in a selection of different fabrics by Paola Lenti.

Thanks to a sophisticated design concept, the individual modules do not need any coupling to be composed. Instead, they can be arranged individually and even be used alone. This high adaptability not only allows using Uptown in both big and small spaces, but even placing them self-sufficiently in the middle of a room. Virtually monolithic in appearance, these elements boast a natural appeal and are suited to residential spaces as well as exhibition areas. The design of Uptown thus implies a sense of openness that inspires and encourages creativity.

Red Dot: Best of the Best for Uptown
The Red Dot jury stated: „With its soft and inviting shape, the Uptown sofa is suitable for use in many different interiors. It exudes a sense of timeless elegance and fascinates with its organically flowing lines. Moreover, following a modular and thus highly functional concept, it allows for a myriad of different arrangements. Also impressive are its intelligently implemented details as well as the available choice of high-quality fabrics for the upholstery.” The jury awarded the Red Dot: Best of the Best for this outstanding design achievement. Red Dot spoke with the designer Francesco Rota.

Red Dot: What was your goal when you designed Uptown?
Francesco Rota: With its timeless lines and architectonic proportions, Uptown was created to be particularly adaptive and flexible in any environment. It derives its refined fluid form from water stones that nature has over time with the help of the elements shaped into perfect ovals. We strived to create an iconic piece, a design that immediately evokes the visual sense of comfort.

How do you maintain a work-life balance?
What I do for a living is what I love; therefore it is hard to call it work. For me, designing is a recreational activity, so there is no real borderline – it is all the same thing, doing what you are passionate about.

Publication of the products and tribute to the winners
The award ceremony will take place on Monday, 3 July 2017. During the Red Dot Gala in Essen’s Aalto-Theater, the laureates of the top award, the “Red Dot: Best of the Best” will be recognised – among them Kartell, Audi, Artemide, Hansgrohe, Bora, Electrolux, LG, Canyon Bicycles, Philips, Puma, Niessing, Apple and Bose. Afterwards, the prize winners and the guests will celebrate together in the Red Dot Design Museum in the midst of the award-winning products at the Designers’ Night. From this day, all award-winning products will also be presented on Red Dot Online and in the Red Dot Design Yearbook.

» Further information on the Red Dot Award: Product Design