Freifrau in motion
“The manufacturer of favorite pieces” – this is the claim of seating manufacturer Freifrau based in Lemgo in North Rhine-Westphalia. Here, comfort and individuality play a major role, as the company aspires to make customers feel at ease with the designs. “We are not auteur designers creating works of art with no thought to whether people like them or not. We want people to like our designs,” says Christoph Kahleyss. “It’s important to us that we adopt a relaxed, experimental approach,” adds Birgit Hoffmann. The Hoffmann Kahleyss tandem have already come up with numerous extraordinary creations since Freifrau was first established back in 2012. Added to which, Birgit Hoffmann leads the workshop’s team of designers as creative director. “Not too rigid, but elegant,” is the aim for the designs that define the collection. For their current work, the two industrial designers are bringing some movement into play with runners that form the base for the seat shells of the “Leya” family and afford new scope. With the “Leya Rocking Lounge Chair”, the team are bringing the rocking chair back to the living room, combining it with the cozy shell of the “Leya Lounge Chair” and slender runners made of wood.
“Anyone who has ever sat in a rocking chair knows how calming it is,” says Kahleyss. Like the “Leya Lounge Chair”, the rocking chair softly envelops the body with its upholstered inner surface, thus ensuring additional comfort. For the utmost rocking pleasure, three different sizes are available, ranging from the “Leya Rocking Chair Small” to the “Leya Rocking Chair” to the “Leya Rocking Wingback Chair”. For the upholstery, customers can choose from the gamut of materials and colors available in the collection, ranging from velveteen to leather and from bright petrol blue to dark grey. Those who prefer to do so can choose their own fabric for the upholstery. The great variability of the products is part of the philosophy behind seating manufacturer Freifrau. In terms of shape, meanwhile, the rocking chairs remain discreetly in the background: “The aim was not to make the rocking chair too extravagant, but rather for it to slot homogeneously into any living space,” explains Christoph Kahleyss.
The modular nature of the designs by Hoffmann Kahleyss is exemplified by the “Leya” product family – the designers view the frames and seat shells of their collections as building blocks that can be assembled separately of one another to create new variants. In their shared design language too, Birgit Hoffmann and Christoph Kahleyss combine the best of both worlds. “Birgit is more open to experimentation and more impulsive, while I’m more technical and like to question the ideas,” explains Kahleyss. “The products have something of each of us: unpretentiousness, function, but also individuality and originality,” Hoffmann adds. The idea of a rocking chair is followed by the “Leya Swing Seat”: To this end, the “Leya” seat shell is fitted with metal eyelets and ropes for installation on a veranda. The free-hanging construction is reminiscent of childhood swings and provides ample movement even with little available space. The single hanging point also makes it possible to rotate 360 degrees in the chair. Differences in ceiling height are balanced out easily with the chain that forms part of the “Leya Swing Seat” suspension. For that certain something extra, the exterior of the seat shell can also be covered with the opulent “Oasis” tapestry fabric with its jungle pattern, which Freifrau created in collaboration with designer Christian Trzaska and the Belgian fabric manufacturer Meisterwerke. “Every Freifrau chair should be something really special,” notes Christoph Kahleyss.