This Pillow Chair Is a Portal to the Italian Riviera

With playful contours and nostalgic stripes, Ash New York’s Pillow Chair channels the allure of the 1960s Ligurian Coast.

“The form of a pillow is so classic, yet almost comical,” says Will Cooper, chief creative officer of Ash New York. He’s describing the four components of the breezy Pillow Chair, a playful new piece that evokes the summertime mystique of the Italian Riviera. Classic, indeed: its striped upholstery, custom designed by Ash through Schumacher, resembles the towels dangling off sun loungers found throughout coastal Italy. In particular, Luchino Visconti’s seminal 1971 drama Death in Venice comes to mind. (“There are so many incredible scenes on the Venetian coast with striped cabanas and costumes.”) The chair’s deceptively simple form, meanwhile, references designer deep cuts à la Angelo Donghia’s Two-Tier chair and Billy Baldwin’s Turkish Ottoman. Yet it’s warm and inviting enough to make you want to dive right in.

Don’t mistake the chair’s poolside vibes for an outdoor piece—it’s intended to imbue interiors with the halcyon energy of days spent soaking up the sun. “We feel a collective shift in mood as winter draws to a close,” says Cooper, nodding to the excitement of dolce vita summertime glamour. The Pillow Chair rushes headlong into that feeling and signals even greater things to come from Ash, a burgeoning firm known for high-end residences, hospitality staging, and a growing portfolio of esoteric boutique hotels, but not yet its prowess with product design.

Speaking of staging, the Pillow Chair’s idyllic photoshoot merits a closer look. “We forced ourselves to do as lo-fi a production as possible and capture what it would feel like to be in the period we were yearning for,” Cooper says. The surrealist backdrop actually harks back to Paris in the 1920s, in particular the Le Corbusier–designed rooftop of Charles de Beistegui’s eclectic apartment on the Champs-Élysées—intended less as a place for living, more a place for amusement. “He was an eccentric, moneyed man who loved a good fête,” says Cooper, who worked with Ash creative leads Griffin Whitehead and Darren Jett to depict each chair as a character soaking under the sun. “We’re so tied to screens. Summer is the perfect time to be away from screens and go outside.”

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