A look at the new sectional version of the Tepee sofa, a design inspired by the simplicity of the hammock, the possibilities of strong industrial fabrics and the tactile elegance of high fashion.
It’s six years since Lucy Kurrein first designed the Tepee sofa, which was first launched as part of SCP’s 30 year anniversary collection, called Sofa In Sight. The collection presented five new sofa designs, and of all of them, the Tepee was arguably the most experimental.
In the design, Kurrein rejected the idea of a traditionally built hardwood frame, which would then be covered with multiple layers of materials to form the upholstery. Instead she created a lightweight frame with vertical pillars, this provided the structure needed to hold a pure cotton canvas sling, which in turn cradled the sofa cushions. Understanding how much tensile strength the cotton canvas sling would need was the key to getting the design of Tepee right. It’s a piece that requires more plumping than your average sofa, but it could be argued this gives the user an even closer relationship with the design, adding to the natural sense of tactility found in the home.
"As a sectional sofa I hope it will suit more spaces and support different ways of living as people’s lives ebb and flow."
Tepee sectional sofa by Lucy Kurrein, detail 1.
Tepee sectional sofa by Lucy Kurrein, detail 2.
For 2021, the design has been further developed to allow it to be specified as a sectional sofa. Kurrein explained her thinking behind the new version. “I’d always felt the casual, cloud-like comfort of the Tepee would lend itself to more slouchy proportions in a larger space, so this new version has a deeper seat than the original, and of course a square seat naturally lends itself to modular configurations. As a sectional sofa I hope it will suit more spaces and support different ways of living as people’s lives ebb and flow.”
Tepee sectional sofa by Lucy Kurrein
"I believe it’s important to design my furniture so it stays in use as long as possible."
The design was created to be made with fully sustainable materials. The luxuriously comfortable cushions are made from goose and duck feathers, while the frame is either in FSC approved oak or walnut. Kurrein also designed in everyday practicality: “With Tepee I always intended to make a sofa that can be completely taken apart, so the fabric can be easily washed or replaced if needed, and all the raw materials are as sustainable as possible. I believe it’s important to design my furniture so it stays in use as long as possible.”
The fact that Tepee has become a very popular piece in SCP’s collection is testament to the rightness of Kurrein’s design. A big thank you to her for sharing the thinking behind this new version.