Silvia Marlia Dreams Big for Adult Furniture Line
Silvia Marlia designs a full range of furniture for grown-ups based on what she has learned creating for children; it’s all about the users.
For the past decade, designer Silvia Marlia has been collaborating behind the scene with the furniture brand edimass. In this capacity, she was able to study the brand’s output, and discovered a space to fill with something new and different. Last year, her maiden collection for the brand—a range of indoor/outdoor furniture with elegant, colorful profile—was launched at the Shanghai Furniture Fair.
Marlia is better known for the range of children’s furniture that she designs for her own label, Sands. Her collections are distinguished by sound scale and proportion, as well as a strong stylistic identity. She doesn’t serve up cute—no chairs in the shape of a cupcake, or a bed with the profile of a racing car make it to her collections. She eschews gimmicks for relatable design, ergonomics, and solid colours. They’re almost like ‘mature’ furniture for children—if such concept ever existed.
Her foray into adult furniture is a welcome expansion of her repertoire as designer. For her, the cross-over is a discipline unto itself, not a mere process of upsizing. “When I design for children, I take note that their muscular structure is developing, that they need to stretch, that they have boundless energy.” Her design does not come solely from the perspective of dimension. “I have to study everything again,” she admits. “I have to observe how adults move, how they use objects, how they sit….”
For edimass, Marlia presented a full collection comprising chairs, armchairs, couches, casegoods and rugs. Ideal for homes and indoor/outdoor environments, they are also tested for contracts. “I wanted to bring something feminine and refined for the brand. Edimass already has several collections for the office, and they are mostly masculine. With this collection, we are introducing colours. I think the brand should open up to a new range and a new market.”
A key piece in her family of casegoods is a flexible chest of drawers with a flip top—her homage to the 17th century commode. “In the past, you would normally see this in dining rooms, parlours, and even bedrooms where they functioned as a food server or a small writing desk.” She set the piece on casters and fitted it with carved pulls on the side of the drawers.
Another key piece is a stackable chair with metal frame and coloured back and seat. One version has arms, another has metallic finish for outdoor use. “The direction of the collection is simple, stylish, but affordable.” Marlia adds that she designed the collection with the HORECA market (hotels, restaurants, commercial projects) in mind, thus satisfying high technical requirements in durability, strength, and finish. “This market is looking for one-time investments and durable pieces satisfy that.
Despite the demands of launching a full collection, Marlia has not neglected Sands. She has added the ‘Please and Thank You’ collection of stackable chairs with handles affixed on the backrest. “The collection is about courtesy. I want to encourage children to put their chairs in the proper place after they finish using them. The handle helps them to do that with ease.” The collection also includes a bench for sharing during group activities, or when children have to put on their shoes.
Silvia Marlia’s collections for Sands and edimass are available at OM.
This story first appeared in FORM Magazine.