Natuzzi: Re-Viving The Recliner

Natuzzi revive recliners milan dec 2013

Betty Wood went to Milan for the launch of the Re-Vive recliner, a feat in ergonomic technology and style, to find out from Mr Natuzzi himself why this chair is like no other

In December, Natuzzi Group CEO and founder Pasquale Natuzzi unveiled their latest offering to the luxury furniture market in Milan, their Re-Vive recliner. A world first, the performance recliner  was created in collaboration with award winning New Zealand furniture design studio, Formway, who specialise in ergonomic technology used in the workplace. Pasquale explained the origins of the product: “La-Z-Boy was the inventor of the recliner chair, but the design is 100 years old. There is also a Norwegian company, Ekornes, but their style is 30 years old. We saw there was an opportunity for the recliner chair, but it had to be really innovative.”

That innovation in wrapped up in the recliner’s technological spec. 124 separate elements, two of which are patented, combine to create a supportive ‘vertebrae’ that behaves three-dimensionally with the sitter. This vertebrae uses Natuzzi’s Responsive Recline feature of weight compensation along with a 360 degree movement pivot in the base, and a tilting ottoman. “Move however you want, and the chair will follow.”

“This product is a personal one,” adds Formway’s head designer, Kent Parker, “it’s where you sit to do that most important thing – nothing. It’s where you go to relax with a glass of wine at the end of the day, or a book, or to watch TV, but whatever you do to relax, it all requires support for a range of postures.”

To develop this skeletal support, the company engaged a lengthy research period of 30 months, interviewing consumers in their homes to find out how they use their lounge environments. “Then we did observation with video cameras set up in volunteers’ homes. After a while, they forget they’re being filmed and go on with their normal life, and that’s where you really identify how they interact with their furniture and how we could better support them.” An interesting observation – which led to the development of the two sizes of chairs, king and queen – was the different way men and women interact with their furniture. Parker notes the videos showed women were much more likely to curl up ‘into’ their chairs, and move about more.

“La-Z-Boy was the inventor of the recliner chair, but the design is 100 years old… We saw there was an opportunity for the recliner chair, but it had to be really innovative.”

“The human body is constantly in motion” Kent explains, and the key to comfort is that the recliner is able to “distribute the weight of the body so it’s always in a neutral position.”

The chair’s intelligent technology also means that it can ‘evolve’ to meet the needs of its user. “The weight compensation system means it’s easier to recline – it doesn’t require activating levers or any additional functions. A lot of elderly people can’t operate lever systems on recliner products – this moves with their weight, and the tilting action of the chair helps them in and out of the product. It’s about supporting lifestyle – you can grow old with this product.”

It seems almost absurd that the research behind workplace ergonomics hasn’t been applied to home furniture before now, but Natuzzi are happy to lead the way. “We have innovation in our blood” says Pasquale. “The next step for us is to study how to translate this comfort and concept into a sofa and other products.”


The Re-Vive recliner is now available in the UK. Visit for more details