The Chester sofa celebrates the classic model of Edwardian England, revisited by Renzo Frau in the first catalogue in 1912 and inspired by the sofas and armchairs that populated English clubs and country houses at that time. One of the icons of the Poltrona Frau brand ever since, Chester stands out for its pleated armrests, an appropriate finishing touch for the rich capitonné processing of the leather, carried out entirely by hand. The Chester’s spring system consists of steel biconical springs, positioned by hand and attached to jute belts on a supporting structure of seasoned beechwood. The seat is padded with rubberised horsehair while the backrest and armrests are in hand-shaped vegetable horsehair. The seat cushions are in goose down. The feet can be spherical or high with finishes in beech with dark walnut stain or lacquered black beech. They are also available in leather-covered wood.
Lorenzo Frau, known as ‘Renzo’, was born in Cagliari in 1881. He left Sardinia for military service in Milan, which he completed successfully earning the title of lieutenant. He married Savina Pisati and moved to Turin, at the time a real hub of Italian culture.
He initially worked as a sales representative for Gribaudi and then for Dermoide Patent, manufacturer of faux leather. Having moved to Great Britain for work, he was able to discover the Chesterfield model armchairs and immediately imagined its potential, successfully starting to import it into Italy. At the same time, however, he was also attracted by the models of French and Central European style. He therefore decided to create his own artisan production laboratory. It was 1912: Poltrona Frau was created. From the initial work ‘in style’, Frau quickly moved onto direct design. Poltrona Frau became not only a production pole, but also a meeting point for artists and intellectuals. Renzo Frau used these relations to consolidate the brand image: successful models ensued quickly, one after the other. As the First World War broke out, Frau was called to fight for his country and his wife Savina bravely took up the reins of the company. Frau’s armchairs thus began entering the most important buildings, also used by the royal family. Renzo Frau met an early death in 1926. He left an extensive archive of projects that would allow his wife to coherently pursue Poltrona Frau production in the years to come.