close left-arrow left-paddle right-arrow right-paddle twitter

the real-life design reader

Dirty Furniture Issue 1 - Couch

Issue 1/6 – Couch

In the launch issue of Dirty Furniture, we’ve gone under the cushions to find you the richest dirt the couch has to offer.

Summer 2014
£11 + postage

View now


including Haunted, Gogglebox and Sofa Sunday


Pffff Tssss

What’s in the making? Dirty Furniture’s Anna Bates encounters the sofa as the most stubborn object in the design industry.


A Perfect Mess

Why is the sight of an untidy living room so seductive? Design magazine editor and frequenter of the furniture fair circuit Johanna Agerman Ross considers the current vogue for mess.


Designers and their Couches

Do designers take their work home with them? Five practitioners tell Dirty Furniture about the couch they designed and reveal the one they live with.


Watching Foam Rise

Trying to get to the bottom of this most ubiquitous of materials, technology writer Joanne McNeil falls headfirst into a vat of chemical uncertainty and irresistible click-throughs.



An Upholsterer

‘Kids at school now don’t know what upholstery is; no one under 40 has done it.’


Taking it Lying Down

The female in repose is one of the most enduring tropes of visual culture. Natalie Ferris wonders whether this figure is sustained or betrayed by what props her up.



A Couchsurfer

‘I am 6ft tall and the couch was about 4ft long with a spring sticking out of it.’

Erwin Wurm


Unsettled Settees

For most of us the couch provides an opportunity to vacate our minds and zone out. But the following artists and designers have other intentions for the archetype: these sofas demand you switch on.


Domestic Safari

In the process of dismembering abandoned sofas for his artwork midwestern American artist Bryan Christiansen discovered the following objects lurking under the cushions. Tom Harrad speculates on the catch.


An Antique Dealer

‘People buy their minimalist sofa and then they build an igloo on it to slot themselves into.’


The History of Comfort

The concept of ‘comfort’ – a positive relationship between your body and its physical surroundings – is relatively young. Far from being a given, it was something that was taught, learned and eventually marketed. Historian Penny Sparke traces the role the sofa played in this tutelage.


Material for Interpretation

Artist Jeremy Millar stands witness to the unstitching of Sigmund Freud’s couch.