It might seem like an unlikely partnership, but today sees the launch of the new DFS Limited Edition Britannia Collection, in collaboration with the TeamGB athletes competing in the Rio Olympic Games 2016. A fleet of sofas and chairs will be sent over to Rio this summer, to be housed in the TeamGB headquarters and in the athletes’ accommodation allowing for comfortable and stylish relaxation whilst off duty.
Whilst you may wonder why a sofa company would want to partner with British athletes, there’s actually quite a lot of synergy between the two groups. Taking in plenty of rest and relaxation is a vital component of an athlete’s training schedule, and of course DFS are masters at making comfortable furniture. With British design and craftsmanship at the core of its business, DFS aligns well with our British athletes, supported by and representing their countries.
The collection is available to the public from today, April 27th for a limited 6 month period, both in store and online. Available in 4 muted shades, blue, grey, plum and beige, the range consists of chesterfield styled sofa, chair and footstool. These images on the blog today were taken when I visited the DFS design studio last week to find out more about this collaboration.
Based on the classic British style of a Victorian chesterfield, the range has been given a modern eclectics feel and updated with the inclusion of a distinctive sweeping camel back. I’ll be honest and say the chesterfield isn’t necessarily one of my favourite sofa designs, but I am very taken with this more contemporary version.
Capturing the spirit of Team GB, the collection has been finished in gold studs. The chair contains exactly 233 studs; the number of gold medals won by Team GB athletes in Summer Olympic Games to date. A lovely touch I think.
Sofas can be tailored to your needs. Add as many or as few cushions as you like to suit you and your home. All have been designed and made here in the UK, using British materials sourced from a 6th generation family of weavers in Lancashire. Meeting the DFS team behind the range gave me an in-depth insight into the brand, one which I hadn’t expected.
DFS is a passionate company full of real people who care about the job they do. The are driven and committed to their company and to the products they produce, from the factory floor through to the design team. Seeing this kind of passion is part of why I love writing this blog; getting a backstage pass to these brands gives you a real-life view which advertising alone can’t give.
If only I had space for this footstool! It’s sublime, a real addition to the living room, and perfect as both a footstool and coffee table.
The Making of Britannia:
As I said, I had a backstage pass to the design process, the design team and the factory floor, where we saw Britannia pieces actually being made. I envisaged the whole process taking a year or more, but in fact it’s been just 3 months from the raw sketches through to production. I’m amazed it’s that quick.
You can see the inspiration behind the design from the moodboard the team put together to help visualise their ideas.
A tour of the DFS factory in Derbyshire showed us how the pieces are made, the skill behind the process, and the real people who do a very skilled job.
Upholstering Made Easy:
The DFS team were incredibly generous and let us have a go at upholstering a section of a Britannia chair. With guidance, patience and a keen Health and Safety eye (yes I was let loose with an electric staple gun) they watched as we attempted to cover a section of chair arm.
I can say with complete honestly that upholstering furniture is incredibly difficult and a real skill, which I don’t own. See how my knuckles look so white? That’s from the strain and pressure; it’s very tough on your hands. I don’t think I’ll be changing my career anytime soon.
Find out More:
You can see more about the thought process behind the design, how the athletes were involved, and why a good old British sofa is important to them out in Rio through this film:
Watch this space though, I have my very own Britannia chair which I helped upholster on its way to me, which I’m going to enjoy tremendously whilst I watch the TeamGB in Rio this summer. Once it arrives I’ll be sharing some pictures of how it looks in my home.
If you want to find out more about the Britannia range you can view it in your local store, or online at www.dfs.co.uk
Prices for the sofa start at £1698, the chair is £798 and the footstool £578.
What do you think of this partnership? Are you a fan of the Britannia design? And will you be cheering on TeamGb this summer?