Here’s the Recipe for the Perfect Sofa: Introducing The Maxwell

published May 21, 2016
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

We’re officially launched! For all of you who are in the market for a sofa and want something fabulously classic, comfortable and well priced, here’s The Maxwell (with special discount just for readers), the first in a whole collection designed in collaboration with Interior Define. Designing this perfect sofa was a process that took nearly a year, but it was worth it.

Following on the heels of the Maxwell Ryan tableware line with Canvas Home launched in February, I am slowly creating a few very personal, fresh solutions for my home and yours with some extremely talented partners. Please read on for the whole story…

(Image credit: Carolina Rodriguez)

What Was the Inspiration?

Not angular; curved.

Sitting down with Rob Royer and Marta Calle of Interior Define last year, they asked me what I would design if they worked with me on a sofa collection. I was nervous at first to tell them that I wouldn’t do a modern sofa, but really liked the cleaned-up European styling and comfy soft cushions of more traditional shapes. My inspiration? Vico Magistretti’s 1988 Raffles sofa for De Padova. Check it out:

The Raffles by Vico Magistretti, 1988 (Image credit: De Padova)

Since I first saw that sofa, I loved it and the chair and ottoman that go with it; however, over the years I’ve been drawn to a little more curve and a little lighter frame that lifts up off the floor. Also, those legs with casters are everywhere now, so I changed that.

Surprisingly, Marta and Rob said they loved my direction and would like to see more. Interior Define’s collection has been largely modern, and they wanted something different. So I went around to showrooms in NYC, measured sofas, looked at angles, trawled the web, wrote down measurements and started to create a picture.

What Was the Process?

From the start, I worked with Marta and Rob completely by email using Photoshop, cutting and pasting to make changes and specify dimensions.

They took my rough sketches and turned them into CAD 360 drawings that we then worked on back and forth with notes…

(Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)
(Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)
(Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)

…until we finally got to something that looked perfect in dimension, but admittedly sorta ugly in rendering.

(Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)

And this turned into this super detailed blueprint, which still didn’t look too cozy…

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

But it was okay because IT TURNED INTO THIS!!!

(Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)

When the first prototype arrived in Chicago where we shot it two weeks ago, it was better than I could have imagined. Perfectly proportioned, with big soft cushions and a deep seat that allows you to still sit up when reading, I was blown away by what Rob and Marta were able to make out of my drawings.

What’s with That Leg?

(Image credit: Carolina Rodriguez)

I’ve seen a lot of legs in my day, but right now I think this carefully tapered spool leg that was very popular in the 1800s is perfect (see “Jenny Lind” for the historical back story). It keeps this very roomy sofa light and airy along with the purposely thin base. It also draws your eye down to the detail, making it a subtle statement and keeping it not boring.

What’s with That Arm?

(Image credit: Carolina Rodriguez)

A great comfortable sofa needs to have a low arm that you can rest your elbow on or lay your head down on for a nap. That’s what this one does. We tried dozens of other curves here before getting it right. While I like angular designs for other situations, this is purposely meant to be super comfortable and live with you like a great pair of jeans. It’s just comfortable from every direction.

The Maxwell standard sofa is our first piece together. It has a deep seat that you can easily sit up and read in, OR you can lie down and take a very comfortable nap. It’s a cuddle puddle and a sofa with enough formality to show off in your living room.

(Image credit: Carolina Rodriguez)

Because Interior Define is on top of the manufacture, I am pleased to say that The Maxwell is impeccably finished and constructed out of kiln-dried hardwood with cushions in down-wrapped foam. They’ve done an amazing job. I’m super proud of the result and I can’t wait for you to try it out in your own home.

It has both of our names on it.

(Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)

The Maxwell standard comes first in three different lengths, in both a slipcovered version and upholstered. And soon, we’ll release The Maxwell armchair and ottoman, The Maxwell studio sofa, and then The Maxwell chaise sectional.

See The Maxwell Sofa here with a special discount code MAXWELL120 just for our readers, valid for $120 off until June 19th. 🙂

See the sofa live at Interior Define’s showroom in Chicago as well as in our office in NYC for the next few months (270 Lafayette St, 1300, NYC) and then go for it online. 🙂

Maxwell Ryan

New York City
May 2016

(Image credit: Carolina Rodriguez)