home style - Clare Gogerty

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home style - Clare Gogerty
HOME STYLE
THE POUFFE
T
he return of the pouffe –
who’d have thought it? There
it was relegated to a footnote
in interior design history –
accompanied by the glass-top coffee
table and chianti-bottle lamp stand –
when it was pulled from the shagpile
by a new generation of designers. And
who can blame them? This is a
supremely useful piece of furniture.
Unobtrusive and portable, it works
everywhere. There it is propping up
Dad’s feet as he does the crossword,
and there it is again with a pile of
magazines and a tea tray placed on
top, toppling with sandwiches.
Children love the pouffe’s childfriendly dimensions: it’s the ideal
seat for TV watching, playing games
on and shoving siblings off. Cats, of
course, love to snooze on its perfectly
feline-sized surface.
This is a seat made for perching on,
not for lounging all over like its
adolescent relative, the sloppy bean
bag. The internal wooden frame of
the cube and barrel-shaped versions (back on the high street,
reinvented in leather) gives them the structure and rigidity that bean
bags lack. FYI, if it has a hinged lid and is used for storage, then it’s an
ottoman. Wooden feet may be added for extra stability, but pouffe
purists would point out that it’s
then a stool. The key definition
of a pouffe is that it is completely
covered in material.
Back in the day, when the
pouffe graced many an
Abigail’s-Party-type interior
and guests sat upon it martini
glass in hand, it was made from
leather and elaborately tooled.
These original, softly rounded
pouffes came from Marrakech,
brought over by enterprising
traders raiding the city’s souks,
and added a touch of the exotic
to G-plan sideboards and
button-backed armchairs.
(Happily they’ve made a return
to the high street.) But then, the
pouffe has always trailed a
glamorous heritage: its name
derives from 19th- century
French meaning ‘something
puffed out’ (presumably
alluding to its dumpily inflated
shape, not some sort of
furniture breathlessness). The spherical shape endures, but these
days knitted versions resembling sea creatures have mostly, but not
entirely, replaced them. This is the moment to let a pouffe back into
your living room. It’s hard to understand why it ever left.
A CL ASSIC & T WO T WISTS
PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES
Words: CLARE GOGERTY
Moroccan pouffe | £95
A welcome return
to British homes for
this leather pouffe, hand
tooled in Marrakech. www.
bohemiadesign.co.uk
The pouffe
THE
CLASSIC
Nomad pouffe | £125
Nestle one of these
embroidered linen
beauties among a clutch
of cushions to create a
laid-back Sixties-style den.
www.bodieandfou.com
TWO
GREAT
TAKES
Knitted pouffe | £90
A knit chunky enough to
withstand any number of
toddlers. Plus it looks like a sea
anemone. www.johnlewis.com
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