Animalia by Nigel Coates for Fratelli Boffi


Milan 2010: In Milan next month London architect Nigel Coates will launch a collection of furniture including modular seating with pebble-like forms upholstered in tweed, leather and tapestries of hunting scenes.

Called Animalia, the series will also feature a dining table with wooden legs carved to look like a stags' horns.

The series was designed by Coates for Italian brand Fratelli Boffi

See all our stories about Milan 2010 in our special category.

More about Nigel Coates on Dezeen:

Tokyo Designers Week interview (November 2009)
Molteni&C Sofa Chat (October 2009)
Creatures, Corona and Pacis by Nigel Coates for Slamp in Milan last year (April 2009)

Fratelli Boffi supplied the information that follows:


“Nature and animal life dominate the narrative vocabulary of this new collection for Fratelli Boffi. Drawing on rural life, hunting, flora and fauna, and our relationship to it, each design has a sense of animation – and anima. Subtly curved legs and variety of skins, tweeds and arazzo ensure a feral sense of attraction between each of the pieces”. N. Coates

Again this year Fratelli Boffi meets expectations and presents a collection full of impact, once more calling upon imaginative designer Nigel Coates, after the ironic and iconoclastic Scubism presented in 2008, to bring out the company’s ability in working with wood.

The English designer indulges himself with his new and eccentric Animalia collection. Playing with forms and materials and drawing inspiration from the animal and plant world, he reworks the lines belonging to it , mixes and matches them using tweed fabrics and tapestries depicting hunting scenes.

Continuing along Fratelli Boffi’s path of research and discovery through the history of furnishings and the continuous cross-fertilisation between past and future, Animalia evokes a world drawing free inspiration from the designs of the mid-20th century, combining the use of hand-crafting construction techniques with experimentation with new materials.

Almost as though furnishing were the obvious transformation and the natural evolution of organic and living shapes, Nigel Coates creates surreal imagery made of branches, animal horns and the sinuosity of the female form to create a series of furniture items revolving around a harmonious unity that is expressed through precious fabrics and woods.

The great art that distinguishes Fratelli Boffi is further highlighted by the wood - ziricote - selected for the creation of part of the collection; through its grain and peculiar colour characterised by shades of green and brown, this wood brings out the complicated carpentry work and refinement of the details.

Thus Fratelli Boffi takes up the challenge again, surprising us as it does every year and presenting technically excellent and increasingly sophisticated products, turning them into almost unique pieces.


They seem like rocks eroded by the wind: the diverse and irregular volumes of the Modulair sectional sofa cleverly enhanced by the precious fabrics that cover them; tweed, leather and tapestries selected to “enliven” this otherwise inanimate object with their various colours and different textures. Large cushions with round forms on a solid wood structure with old-fashioned feet are combined and completed by interlocking ovoid backs. Three modular types of upholstered piece, available in three different dimensions.


The kingdom of animals gives life to the Stag table, the legs of which are reminiscent of a stag’s horns. The glass top, with its soft oval form, reveals the sophisticated carving work of the structure, further embellished by special tropical wood used, ziricote.


Conceived to live alongside the Stag table, the Daina chair is inspired by the suppleness of the fallow deer and the roundness and grace of the female body, giving it further elegance and lightness. The structure, again made of ziricote, is folded like a ribbon, designing a stylized profile and holding a soft cushion in the middle. The simplicity and delicateness of this design genuinely conceals the complexity of the construction and the refinement of details.

Posted on Wednesday March 24th 2010 at 3:00 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • eye+

    damn, these objects are ugly.

  • j

    The dining chairs are bogus, however the dining table reminiscent of antlers are quite attractive. Where are the tapestries of hunting scenes mentioned above?

  • j

    Oh, nevermind chairs are upholstered in hunting scenes…

  • Xit

    Narnia chic for the urban elves

  • modular

    oh my god. this is so ugly. I’m scared like hell!

  • tanya telford – T

    i like the sofa because it reminds me of a particular shoreline which i have walked many times and seen lots of wildlife whilst walking a couple of very special dogs, (personal memories)

  • john

    very ugly indeed. does anyone review these entries?

  • Nathan


  • Carol

    first comment ever on this web site because…THIS IS SO UGLY!
    seriously! what was that guy thinking?

  • B

    are some of these pictures renders?? the first and last pics are throwing me off.
    i dont necessarily like it but if it is real… good job… if they are renders, then i take it back.


  • Capstick

    Looks so 50´s. It remembers me to the “Cipria” sofa, by Edra. That isn ´t a flattery.

  • christian

    I don’t really get it? all of its rather ugly or is that the joke?
    oh and the fabrics are horrid.

  • Rune Riis

    These objects are not ugly, nor are they boring like so much new design. Not too crazy about the glass plates though. A bit too 80´
    …hmm a hunting lodge in the desert..

  • anonima

    inspired by alexander mcqueen? (except it didn’t work out)

  • Blip

    Ugly is hard to do, well done Nigel

  • Interesting designs. Modern version of hunting cabin style? All the objects don’t look too good together… each has a big ego and does not like competition :) But placed in a simple minimalist interior – will spice up the surroundings.

  • /R

    Good lord, it would appear from many of the comments above that people dont understand what designing to a brief, or, desiging to fit into an exisiting range is.

    Take a look at what Fratelli Boffi does people and you’ll see that this fits right in. So you don’t like it (I don’t either, it’s not my style preference), but even the harshest critic should be able to see why it visually looks like this. Mr Coates hasn’t designed these for Kartell has he (nor would he). He (as all designers must) shows an understanding of his client.

    Aside from that, the chair still looks terrible.

  • llama hunt

    For a man who is head of architecture at a reknowned London school I would expect better.

    Oh my god, I´ve never seen anything so hideous in my life.

  • designgurunyc

    Really disappointing work. I think that the idea of organic pieces is that they look like they just ARE. found beauty if you like. these seem to be over laboured and look like a 70s take on science fiction ( Roger Dean the illustrator comes to mind..). For me they just miss the mark.

  • ABZ

    Really strong pieces – it’ll be great to see them in Milan. All the images are renders and the woods and fabrics will surely look much warmer in real life. Personally I’m always amazed how many people get scared of anything which differs from the box sofa/ rotation moulded chair/ Ford Focus of the design world aesthetic.

  • Blip

    These comments are missing the good old,

    “well if there are this many comments, it must be a good design, because its a conversation starter about ‘beauty’, its what the designer intended”

  • Matthew

    Reminiscences of Art Nouveau…
    Interesting to say the least.

  • Jiyun

    pebble, antler

  • sara

    well I love it,just wonder what it is like to sit on.