A meticulous attention to detail and passion for design has been the driving force behind renowned NZ Made brand forma. It is led by creative extraordinaire Matt Smidt, who has been making quality New Zealand Made furniture for the last 28 years. We caught up with the man himself, founder and designer for forma – Matt Smidt, for a behind the scenes look at the brand.
Tell us a bit about the story behind forma. How was it started?
Design has always been a huge part of my life. After a stint studying architecture in my early years, it led to a furniture design degree, where my love for beautifully designed items for the home grew. This passion for design and the joy I get from seeing my designs appreciated and enjoyed by customers, led me to create forma 22 years ago.
forma is a brand that firmly believes customers should get up close and personal with our designs, lie on our couches to experience the comfort and quality before making a decision. We are committed to creating pieces that work functionally as well as aesthetically, each piece is customised to suit the customer’s style and living spaces.
How do forma designs begin their life? What is the creative process?
Designs usually begin with a sketch. I’m all about the shape and proportions; it’s really important to me. I’m hands on and I’m fussy about little parts, and that’s where we build the furniture from.
Next comes the prototype. I wasn’t taught as an upholsterer as such so I try to solve the problems by design. There is as much design inside the sofa that you can’t see, as there is on the outside.
Once I am satisfied with the prototype, the team begin work on the first piece. I oversee the production to ensure it is made to precise specifications. I’m a self-confessed perfectionist and like to be involved in the entire process.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration from everything around me, from a piece of art to architectural homes, to enjoying time at the beach. A lot of my designs are influenced by European trends but I am always welcoming feedback from those in the industry, keeping the end user in my mind and perfecting my designs accordingly.
How are they are made? What techniques and materials are used?
Our team take care of the construction of every element of every piece, manufacturing our furniture in our own New Zealand factory and sourcing the best quality materials from around New Zealand and the world. Each team member is a specialist in their field and passionate about creating the highest quality, design-led furniture, that not only looks good but is comfortable too.
We are very particular about our framing and have engineered a unique form of construction to ensure we can build frames to very fine proportions. Our frames use laminated ply and pine together and where necessary we reinforce with a steel frame. Our environmental impact is important to us so all timber used is from a renewable source.
We use the highest grade commercial foams with different layering grades to form a superior level of comfort. Most designs have feather wrap cushions to create greater softness.
All forma sofa and chair seat cushions are supported by high quality Elastic webbing. The webbing is interwoven by hand, and stretched and stapled onto the framework, producing a superior suspension system.
Do you have a favourite design from your collection?
My absolute favourite would be the Aych chair. I look at this chair and I love it. I know I have got it right as it perfectly balances form and function. It is aesthetically pleasing from every angle but also incredibly comfortable. I get huge satisfaction out of that.
Did you know?
Right now until the 4th of August 2019, get up to 50% off upholstery fabric with every NZ Made sofa & armchair plus other great deals on NZ made beds and furniture during our NZ Made Expo! Find out more here.