Understanding seating comfort
The comfort and durability of our sofas is mostly defined by the foam used internally. Our designers use their extensive experience to specify the materials used based upon the style and purpose of the seating.
What is CMPF (Combustion Modified Polyurethane Foam)?
An open cell flexible Polyurethane Foam designed to meet the UK's furniture fire safety regulations. Available in a range of firmness and density for different comfort levels which we usually combine for the ultimate balance between comfort and durability.
The specification of foam
There are a multitude of foams available and we usually select a combination to suit the likely use of the furniture. Our sofa designs usually incorporate soft luxurious upper foams with a harder core for seat comfort and support, whilst our banquette and work ranges have harder seat foam which supports longer use times.
Foams are rated in both firmness and density, firmness is how hard or soft the foam is i.e how much it compresses under weight, whilst density determines its longevity but also how quickly the foam compresses. For example, you would sink very quickly into a seat made from a very soft very low density foam, but a very hard very high density foam seat would have very little give. Equally, a very soft foam with a higher density would have much more resistance and you would sink into it at a much slower rate.
By combining different firmness and densities of foam within our furniture we can offer the best comfort and support. Below are examples of some of our most commonly used foams
- Chip Foam - this is a reconstituted foam, made by granulating waste foam and then bonding it back together to create a hard, dense foam which we use as an initial layer in our seats. All our waste foam is sent back to be recycled into chip foam.
- Blue Foam - a hard firmness, medium density foam- this hard wearing foam is often used in seats intended for long use work areas or used to create shaping on our furniture, such as in our Bloid range.
- White Foam - a hard firmness, high density foam which we often use in our work seating backs or in profiles to create large elements of shaping.
- Pink Foam - a medium firmness, high density foam which we often combine with other foams in our seats and backs.
- Gold Foam - a soft firmness, high density foam which is perfect for sofa seat cushions.
- Dacron - not a foam, but a polyester wadding- much like sheets of teddy-bear stuffing, which is put as a layer between foam and fabric to reduce the friction between the two caused by daily use. By reducing the friction fabric wear is lessened- extending the life of the furniture.
- Fibre cushions are filled with hollow polyester strands which are blow into cushion casings to give them a soft plump look. Because the fillings are man-made, fibre fill cushions are hypoallergenic, making them ideal for workplace environments.
- Feather and down cushions are filled with a combination of duck feather and down, the extra soft feathers from the underside of the duck. A larger percentage of feather is used in these cushions to give them their structure with the down adding the softness. We don’t recommend these cushions for commercial office use due to potential allergy reactions and for the house keeping required to keep them looking their best. We do however, often put feather and down cushions into hospitality based projects.
- Foam cushions use exactly the same foams as the rest of our furniture but are dacron wrapped and separately upholstered in a cushion cover rather than being fixed to a frame.
Working with foam
- Foam knife - Our foam knifes work in a similar way to a kitchen electric carving knife but with much finer toothed blades which move rapidly up and down creating the cutting motion. The foam is fixed in place by glue and then trimmed to size or carved to shape.
- Spray gun with water based glue- Pressurised spray guns are used to lay down a thin layer of water based glue onto a frame before sections of foam are added prior to trimming. We use water based glue for a number of reasons, it’s easy to use, the bondline- where two pieces of foam join together creates a soft bond rather than a hard glue line which would be seen through the fabric and it’s less harsh in terms of work ability times- allowing for parts to be repositioned. Most significantly it is safe to use. It’s totally free from volatile solvents and VOCs and creates a much cleaner and safer work environment for our foam team.
Making simple frames and then adding organic shapes to it through foam allows us to be more creative with our designs - shapes that would be require extremely complicated frameworks and take hours to make, can be created by keeping the frames simple and adding CNC profile cut foams. For us foam isn’t just about comfort, it’s integral to the aesthetic design process.
We go the extra mile with the organic shape of the teardrop Bloid by carving the foam to create the fluid shaped back, ensuring that it has all the right curves before the cover is applied.
As part of our tailored design process we can adjust the internal foam specification to suit a client’s requirement, for example, many of the sofas we have manufactured for TV tend to have harder foams in them, this prevents presenters from sinking in and slouching on them and instead they naturally sit up straighter.
Talk to us to learn more about how we use foams to enhance our designs, creating the ultimate comfort for users whilst ensuring durability.