Marialaura Irvine + Konstantin Grcic Discuss the New PAF PAF Lounge Chair

04.30.24 | By
Marialaura Irvine + Konstantin Grcic Discuss the New PAF PAF Lounge Chair

Structured yet imperfect, the original PAF PAF Chair from Mattiazzi was released to much acclaim after its debut at Salone del Mobile 2023, but this year there was a new version on show during Milan Design Week 2024. The head of Studio Irvine, Marialaura Irvine, designed both the chair and the recently-introduced PAF PAF Lounge, a wooden armchair with a short, wide stance that maintains the essence of simple lines.

A plush white lounge chair with wooden frame, positioned against a geometric backdrop.

PAF PAF Lounge chair

Mattiazzi’s creative director, Konstantin Grcic, commissioned Irvine to work on the creation of the PAF PAF Chair, and now on the PAF PAF Lounge, to further broaden the collection of seating. The lounge’s structure is functional while remaining incredibly comfortable, with two soft feather cushions that continue to get better with daily use as they form to the user’s body. Perfection and imperfection create a strong visual dialogue in the design of the lounge chair.

Additionally, two new materials have been made available to the collection: Sorensen Leather and natural fiber by Torri Lana 1885. Below, the two designers, Irvine and Grcic, sit down to discuss the process, the roadblocks, and the outcome of their project in an exclusive interview.

Two people seated in a modern furniture showroom with large text on the wall behind them.

Konstantin Grcic + Marialaura Irvine

Aerial view of a design workspace with fabric samples, sketchbooks, and a wooden ruler on a white table.

Konstantin Grcic: The presentation of your PAF PAF chair caused quite a stir at last year’s Salone del Mobile. The design was completely new in terms of appearance and comfort. This year, you are expanding the collection with a lounge chair. How does the new chair differ from its older sister?

Marialaura Irvine: PAF PAF was a challenge, I wanted to translate and develop your brief consistently. No compromises. The form was a consequence of that process. The lounge is a consequence: a mega cloud to sink into! The lounge chair is a direct descendant of the original PAF PAF – broader, lower, and more inviting. It maintains the integrity of the original design while adapting its form for even greater comfort. The addition of varied materials, like cotton and leather, enhances its adaptability and aesthetic, embodying my commitment to proportion and tactile freedom.

Five miniature chair mockups with textured upholstery in varying colors, displayed in a white box setup.

Miniature PAF PAF Chair mock-ups

KG: You had a very strong opinion about the sustainability of your project – especially with regard to the upholstery. It was important to you to find an alternative to conventional polyurethane foam, and you succeeded. What are the upholstered elements of the chair made of, and what kind of comfort do they provide?

Ml: We adopted a holistic approach, deconstructing the chair into its basic elements – wood, recycled feathers, and fabric. Comfort is redefined as a dynamic interaction between these materials, akin to a cloud nestled within a robust wooden frame. This vision was brought to life through materials that could be rejuvenated, washed, and reused, ensuring both comfort and sustainability.

A modern wooden chair with fluffy beige upholstery on both the seat and backrest, isolated on a white background.


A modern wooden chair with fluffy beige upholstery on both the seat and backrest, isolated on a white background.


KG: Listening to you, everything sounds so simple and natural. I know that a lot of work and persistence go into making things simple. What kind of chair is PAF PAF? What kind of personality do you see in it?

Ml: The PAF PAF chair was inspired by your brief that evoked a medieval throne, stripped down to a form that challenges traditional structures. It’s a contemporary reinterpretation, emphasizing ease of assembly, storage, and transportation. PAF PAF isn’t just a chair; it’s a modern-day throne that embodies simplicity and character, promising versatility for future adaptations.

Chair concept mockup using cottony clouds as the seat and backrest of a wooden structure.

PAF PAF Chair concept

KG: The idea of sitting on a cloud suits this type of low and reclined chair. Good design takes time, especially when you’re creating something different. PAF PAF is based on a very simple idea, but turning it into a product was anything but easy. What was the biggest challenge of the project?

Ml: The greatest challenge was resisting the conventional use of polyurethane which, though perfect in form, contradicts our vision of a more organic, interactive experience. PAF PAF seeks action with the object – the interaction that completes the process. A human approach, in short, which brings the object closer to the people who use it. The design process was an intricate dance of adjusting dimensions, materials, and assembly methods to create a chair that is not only beautiful but also practical and user-centric. In short, making different materials converse, which behave differently, for a common intent: ease of use. Finding shortcuts is not our method!

A modern chair featuring a light wooden frame and oversized, cushioned leather pads in brown, isolated on a white background.

PAF PAF Lounge chair

KG: Now that the project is finished, what kind of environment or situation do you see the PAF PAF Lounge chair being used in, and by whom?

Ml: PAF PAF has been described as irreverent. I appreciate this description because, with its irreverence, the chair integrates into any environment. It whispers, rather than screams, style or status. The new lounge version is a cozy seat that simply invites relaxation. I envision it in a modern New York penthouse, elegantly dressed in leather, where a cigar-smoking executive might unwind. Or imagine it in the library of a Venetian Palladian villa, upholstered in textured sage green fabric, where a teenager lounges, reading King Arthur. Picture it in a mountain refuge on the peaks of Mont Blanc, clad in a boucle cover, providing a serene spot for a weary couple to sip wine by a fireplace. In a Tokyo hotel lobby, it appears in beige cotton, offering a comfortable perch for children. Finally, in my own home, naked, without fabric to show itself in its integrity.

Three white, fluffy chairs with wooden legs beside a table.

PAF PAF Chair \\\ Photo: Qianyin Tan

A white, fluffy chair with wooden legs beside a table.

PAF PAF Chair \\\ Photo: Qianyin Tan

To learn more about the PAF PAF lounge chair, visit

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.