Jeannette Hojer Bessmann is an award-winning Danish designer who specialises in the creation of high quality, affordable, designer furniture for the Lounge Lovers one of Australia’s most progressive interiors companies that specialises in quality at affordable prices.
Jeannette graduated as a furniture designer from TEKO in Herning in 2014 and has since has won the ILVA Design Award for Customer prize and was nominee at the Selected Design Monat Graz, the Pure Talent Contest Cologne Fair and FSC Design Award.
Here, she talks us through one of the toughest but most important interior purchases: How do you choose the right lounge for your life.
Q & A With Jeannette Hojer Bessmann.
A quick history lesson: Which sofa shapes have been the most significant in design terms?
The most iconic sofas in my opinion are the Scandinavian three seater, the Italian minimalist lounge, the great American floater, the French curved and the tufted English sofa.
The French curved and tufted English sofas are derived from a French invention from the Rococo era. It was perceived as a piece of social furniture back then as only the royal or noble could afford them – the farmers in comparison were sitting on wooden benches or chairs.
Since then, it has been developed on soft upholstery with carved details and curved shapes characteristic of the French Rococo style and the British, they developed this style to have iconic round arms with tufted details and at times, a distinguishable flower pattern. This style we now know as the iconic Chesterfield.
Denmark made its mark with the modern Danish design classics by Børge Mogensen and H.J. Wegner, (amongst others), in the 40s and 50s. The smaller Danish version – the three seater and accompanying armchair, has been iconic every year since then.
Through the 60s and 70s, sofas became softer and more comfortable with new technology and new materials making it possible to fabricate upholstered furniture for a reasonable price. Though it wasn’t until the 90s that sofa designs began to expand and a larger range was created. Inspiration came from the US but was refined by Italian furniture designers and architects who were very concerned with minimalism. The result was an increase in large, floating sofas in which some versions are almost the size of a double bed!
The transformation of the sofa to a recliner occurred when we started to watch television more often and for that reason, less conversation. This was appropriately moved to the kitchen, however in 1999, instead of sitting on the couch watching TV, we were encouraged to talk again – but not on the couch! Now, we were sitting around the kitchen island or dining table as the children lay and watch movies on the large couch.
And where has design moved now?
Social changes have impacted the look, size and use of sofas considerably and the focus for furniture designers at current is smaller, sleeker, more sophisticated sofas. Here, you can sit and read, watch a movie or fit at least two people comfortably for a great conversation. The main concern is look and feel of a sofa in your home.
Today, the big comfortable sofa is still popular, but our current TV habits mean we no longer need a common space in the living room. Some of these iconic styles have become modern classics, and others have been relaunched and redesigned for our current lifestyles. The looks are more daring as consumers are happier to have fun with their furniture. It’s less about your social class and more about personal style.
Are there rules that everyone should follow when choosing an investment lounge?
(ABOVE) This sofa in my music room is old but s comfortable and will stay with us forever.
The obvious rules are ensuring the lounge suits the rest of your home (it shouldn’t be trend driven if it’s an investment piece), that it’s great quality and that it’s super comfortable. Ask yourself if you want to have this lounge for the next ten years, and if so, then you want to make sure you’re happy spending a lot of time on it! Removable covers are a great option as it means you can update the colour but keep with the overall design.
Tips for working out what sofa will fit your room layout?
Your lounge is the centerpiece of your room and should give the room wholeness without being too dominant. It’s important to have an idea of how you will use your living room and the purpose of it. A corner sofa should have an entrance to it – if possible, don’t place the corner section in your walk flow.
Narrow or small spaces work best with a three seater. Open living spaces with free flow from the lounge to the kitchen work best with bigger sofas such as corner or modular as they can be placed out from the wall with the backside of the sofa as a divider. Always bring your measurements and floor plan with you when shopping for a ‘forever sofa’ and ask the friendly staff for advice.
When it comes to fabric what lifestyle factors should you consider?
It’s important to understand how and what your sofa will be used for. Do you have kids? Pets? These factors will all help to distinguish the wear of your product and shortlist the best options for you. Leather for example, is hardwearing and softens with age, so it’s ideal for those with children.
Is there a magic measurement for comfort?
Depth is most relevant when it comes to a customer’s height but it’s also a personal preference.
Some like to sit really far back into a sofa and have their feet off the ground, others don’t like the feeling of ‘floating’. There’s no hard and fast rule for depth, so it pays to try a few sofas to see what you like best. A design rule when it comes to the actual construction of a sofa is that the deeper the seat, the lower the height can be. If you’re not sure the style you like, spend some time in a showroom and test them out for size.
Lounge Lovers specialising in sofas for small spaces. Are there clever ways of adding comfort to smaller settings?
(ABOVE) This is the Lounge Lovers Pod System Sofa I used add comfort without bulk to this tricky space.
We opened our first Lounge Lovers store as apartment living is very common, smaller space living was our key focus.
We design and create sofa beds in a range of size options – single, queen, even a clever ; and we offer versatile options for corner sofas such as the compact . Our is one of our most popular as it can be built around the size you have available and we always ensure we offer our best sellers in a range of sizes to suit all spaces. We also design products with clever storage options, like our and Corner Sofa Beds and if you are really tight on space, we have a huge range of that can be used as both a foot rest or coffee table. We also built out our selection of as we found some customers weren’t able to go for a full sized coffee table, so we now offer our best styles in smaller options.
When is comes to cost, do you get what you pay for? Where should you never scrimp and where can you save?
Furniture is one of the biggest investments you can make – you want something that is going to last for years to come when it comes to the big ticket items – sofas and dining tables for example. If you’re investing in a piece instead of buying into a trend, you want to ensure you’re purchasing solid timber over veneer and that the fabric (if you’re looking at a sofa or armchair) is suited to your lifestyle. Smaller pieces like side tables can be purchased to fill a space and can easily be updated due to its accessible price points.
Help us choose a style to match our interior vibe.
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Modern & Minimal.
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