Natuzzi's Sound Armchair seems to me the example par excellence of what air travel should be like. Just imagine: all your personal belongings have been neatly stowed away by competent personnel, you've polished off your first dry Ketel One martini, and you give yourself to the plush Italian leather enveloping you like a celestial pillow, tune in to the musical stylings of Chopin, or Al Greene, or the White Stripes—whatever floats your boat—and happily jet off to Rio...
Sound Armchair. Manufactured by Natuzzi.
Admittedly—given the obvious constraints of space, mass moved, and the concomitant and various costs of jet fuel—this is a pre-economic meltdown/global warming happy capitalist delusion, but as Dan Akroyd's Dr. Detroit once said, "the point is it's okay to fantasize..." (see Sami Hayek's Raven). The truth of it is that Natuzzi's answer to the hard-shelled, spherical, Aarnio-inspired iBall Chair is designed for the placid comforts of your very own living room, its resemblance to my vision of sublime airline seating notwithstanding.
Natuzzi's piece is a tempting, other-side-of-the-aesthetic-spectrum alternative to the vintage retro appeal of Sound Chairs like the iBall. With a pair of expertly hidden speakers at just the right height, a similarly inconspicuous mp3 minijack, and an ergonomic pillow-ette that props the listening head just so, one could make the case that Natuzzi's Sound chair is the luxury-pc response to Mac's hipster iBall. Internecine squabbling aside, this chair's principal merit is the classical appeal of Natuzzi leather. "Inspired by the pursuit of beauty and quality since 1959," Italy's Natuzzi is known the world over for a premium product made of an enduring material.
Tactfully evoking the virtues of leather, Natuzzi speaks to us of boundless variety: "the total color assortment changes constantly and exceeds 150 different leather colors. Some are thicker, some are thinner, and some have a second color added for effect, some are embossed, while others are smooth." They're also quick to dispel some convenient myths: "leather conforms to its environment. It adapts to the temperature of a room or of your body, and will maintain a consistent temperature that will feel good to your skin." And they make no bones about their chairs' durability: "we use an engineered frame that is a combination of solid woods such as fir/spruce or beech with plywood, OSB, particle board, and a Masonite wrap. The suspension uses the elastic webbing system that is completely durable, and 100% resilient that, over time, will out last any spring type of construction." Coupling ageless aesthetic appeal to long-life and myriad variations on a theme, Natuzzi's Sound chair makes momentous music indeed.
Have a good sit and sample some tunes when you visit Natuzzi at the AD Home Design Show, March 26-29 in NYC.