customisability is a key this day in age whereby things are constantly changing and we require products and environments to adapt to our evolving needs. responding to this, lievore altherr molina has envisioned a sofa that can be made to meet the exact requirements of any interior design project, both in the sense of aesthetics and functionality. designed for contemporary furniture brand viccarbe, ‘sistema’ breaks the sofa down into a series of elements including: seating (with or without legs), back rests of different heights, arm rests, legs and other trimmings such as side tables, trays and foot rests. these deconstructed components can be assembled by the customer in any way to create the perfect arrangement, whether it be for domestic or contract use, allowing one to adapt the seating system to suit their specific spatial dimensions and programme requirements.

lievore altherr molina viccarbe sistema modular sofa system designboom
‘sistema’ is a revolutionary customised modular sofa system




debuting at salone del mobile 2016, ‘sistema’ has been conceived in a way that will see new elements released each year to accompany the sofa system. each of these constituent parts will be developed as complimentary and interchangeable within the overall assemblage, offering complete flexibility and freedom to form a unique and singular modular piece of furniture. apart from the endless possible number of layouts, customisability is also offered through a variety of finishes that can be combined with fabrics, wood, metal, providing the opportunity to shape your own bespoke seating system with full comfort and elegance. ‘sistema’ is also available in a series of pre-configured options such as linear, L-shaped or U-shaped.



the endless possibilities of the ‘sistema’ modular sofa system
video courtesy of VICCARBE




designboom spoke with lievore altherr molina to discuss their approach to furniture, what the studio’s starting points were in developing ‘sistema’, and what they think the role of the designer is.


DESIGNBOOM: how would you describe your approach to designing furniture?


LIEVORE ALTHERR MOLINA: our approach to a project is generally to circle around it — from the general to the specific. the initial stages are normally focused on sensations, memories, similarities, ambiguity; which little by little begin to take shape through a form that attracts us. pinning down those initial intentions is so important.

lievore altherr molina viccarbe sistema modular sofa system designboom
the seating system is accompanied by a range of accessories including side tables and arm rests




DB: what were the starting points for developing the modular ‘sistema’ sofa? can you talk about the evolution of the furniture — from the initial concept phase to its realization?


LAM: the viccarbe commission came about through the company’s interest in working together on a project that would initially be something other than a chair. victor carrasco (founder and director of viccarbe) told us about his wish to produce an upholstered seating system that provided users the freedom to compose configurations depending on their particular needs, whether they were ergonomic, aesthetic or dimensional. taking that into account, he asked that the proposal  also be ‘live’ and be able to expand with the addition of accessories and components over time, meeting the demands of the evolving market. based on this brief our references for the project included modularity, proportion, procedure and timing. in other words, comfort in the broadest sense and memory, that is to say references, shared cultural and universal features that provide each project with a ‘broad present’ (as we like to call it).

lievore altherr molina viccarbe sistema modular sofa system designboom
‘sistema’ is composed of six individual seating/backrest modules




DB: what are the specific components and modular elements you have integrated into the design? can you elaborate on the configurations that you wanted to create through the varied modules?


LAM: ‘sistema’ is basically composed of six individual seating/backrest modules the main variables being the height of the backrest and the width of the seat. these modules are assembled over a shared modular metal base, designed in such a way to accommodate the greatest range of compositions, guaranteeing a solid support and easy assemblage. together with these principal elements there are a series of accessories like the arm rests, legs and fabrics that allow the sofa to be customised, all thought through to satisfy any requirement whether it be residential or contract.

viccarbe lievore altherr molina sistema designboom
the sofa system can be accompanied by legs in wood or metal, or sit low to the ground




DB: what did you want to achieve aesthetically and functionally with the overall design of ‘sistema’?


LAM: the starting point was a complex and ambitious one. our challenge was to resolve its design in the most harmonious way possible, emphasising the overall concept of synthesis, clarity and memory to produce an easily accessible result without sacrificing any of the objectives identified initially. this harmony should lead to a warm and organic product, made to last and evolve with changing market tastes.

 viccarbe lievore altherr molina sistema designboom

the ‘sistema’ modular sofa system also comes in a number of pre-configured options



DB: what sets ‘sistema’ apart from other modular sofa systems out there?


LAM: the feature that sets ‘sistema’ apart from other modular sofa systems on the market is, above all, is that it is a product conceived by viccarbe and designed by lievore altherr molina, which rather than being a unique and exclusive design proposal, celebrates its universal character in the broadest sense; together with its harmony and power to seduce. differentiation is always intrinsic. the client’s DNA, their particular way of manufacturing, communicating and distributing is always evident, as is the DNA of the designers. specific sensitivities always appear during a project’s evolution.

viccarbe lievore altherr molina sistema designboom
the design’s deconstructed elements can be assembled to create the perfect sofa for either residential or contract use




DB: in your opinion, what do you think the role of the designer is?



LAM: our work involves bringing order to a series of elements in such a way that they respond to a particular brief, keeping in mind industrial and commercial capabilities and the defining characteristics of the client who commissions the project. in other words we set out to provide specific answers to specific problems, working with all kinds of conditions which we have to uncover over a long process.

viccarbe lievore altherr molina sistema designboom
‘sistema’ configured with a table set between seating elements

viccarbe lievore altherr molina sistema designboom
‘sistema’ by lievore altherr molina for viccarbe


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