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The Warsaw Voice » Other » July 29, 2009
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Big City Apartments
July 29, 2009 By Elżbieta Wrzecionkowska   
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A large, open living room, a kitchen island, a bedroom with a separate bathroom and, last but not least, a couch: this is what springs to mind when you think of a modern apartment. But to actually furnish one is where the real challenge begins. Thousands of arrangements are possible and making the whole thing work takes a good idea and familiarity with what is available on the market. And, of course, the size of the owner's wallet is a factor.

Poland has several shopping centers that group furniture and interior decoration specialists. In Warsaw, most such companies have stores in the Janki, Targówek, Domoteka and Blue City malls. Still, some good brands are nowhere to be seen in shopping malls and many gems are scattered across different parts of Warsaw. For arty and designer furniture, you may have to explore small galleries and studios that specialize in designing premium apartments and lofts.

Poland has a shortage of interior decoration stores such as the BoConcept chain, which sells everything from sofas and bedroom furniture to lamps and vases. Meanwhile, furniture centers bring together companies with differing styles and quality. Matching furniture to your apartment is no easy feat and takes help from an interior designer.

Customers want pre-planned arrangements, hence the enormous popularity of IKEA stores, which demonstrate how to arrange an apartment from scratch. IKEA also appeals to young people who want to furnish their apartments in style, but at a reasonable price.

The Domoteka center in Warsaw was designed as a furniture store for the more demanding and affluent customer, but it lacks a coherent concept. Access to interior designers' services continues to be a problem as well. Few people can afford to hire an interior designer to come up with an idea and seek out the right furniture. It is useful to know that some store chains offer design consulting services for customers. At BoConcept stores, you can ask for advice from an interior designer or use a computer program called Furnish to help you design an interior. It is also useful to know where to buy quality furniture.

The couch is key
A key piece of furniture is a couch for the living room. The days when Poles placed sofa-beds in their living rooms are long gone and most customers want a proper couch that is both comfortable and stylish. The style and type naturally depends on the individual preferences of the owner. In modern, open-space apartments, the couch is the most important piece of furniture, determining the character of the living room, if not the entire home.

The selection of sofas in Poland is impressive, largely because Poland is a leading producer of upholstered furniture. Few are aware that most IKEA couches sold around the world are manufactured in Poland. Top Polish producers selling couches in Poland include Com40, Noti, Kler and Iker. As for foreign furniture, there is the BoConcept chain with Danish designer furniture and accessories, Italian couches from Natuzzi, artistic furniture from Ligne Roset and, new on the Polish market, couches from Bruhl & Sippold.

Design icons
Sofas have long been produced in Poland, but only recently did they become sought-after, quality products marketed under the manufacturer's brand and bearing the name of the designer. Such producers include Kler, Com40 and Noti. The latter recently unveiled several intriguing models of sofas and armchairs. The Origono, a sofa designed by Piotr Kuchciński, introduces a novel idea and design inspired by origami, the Japanese art of paper folding. Origono armchairs can be folded and the sofa can be arranged into over a dozen different positions.

The multifunctional Mishell armchair can serve as a sofa extension or a bar stool. The seat has a trendy, cubical shape.

Armchairs have always been an integral part of a living room, but these days they no longer need to look like smaller copies of the couch. Instead, a hint of the same style can be sufficient. New armchairs are bold, even a little wild, like the Imola chair from the latest, 2009/2010 BoConcept collection. Designed by Henrik Pedersen, the Imola is set to become a new icon of modern design with its light, organic form that has echoes of 1950s style. According to Pedersen, furniture is about simplicity and fun and for him, a sense of humor is an advantage.

Com40 has also unveiled a new living-room couch. The Lena sofa combines straight lines with an abundance of soft cushions. Sofa cushions have come into fashion lately, lending character to sofas and significantly improving comfort. Particularly important for the fashion conscious, cushions can be easily switched, introducing new colors and new fabrics to the living room.

Straight or curvy?
Another emerging trend are round shapes. The Como sofa from BoConcept is a treat for those who want trendy lines. Designed by Anders Norgard, the sofa is futuristic and sophisticated. Its components are upholstered on all sides, so that the sofa can be freely rearranged. The set comes with a large footrest, a spacious chaise longue ideal to take a nap on and a two-seater. All the new components fit into the whole so you can let your imagination run free as you design your own suite.

Finally, be sure to check out couches from Bruhl & Sippold, a leading global furniture producer since 1903. Every year, Bruhl & Sippold wins best-design awards and their products are now available in Poland thanks to the Alnus company. Bruhl & Sippold sofas are ideal for those who want something special in their living room.
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