The VLAH Sofa is my first attempt at designing and building a couch. The entire frame was made from steel, making this one of the biggest and heaviest things I have ever created. I think it weighed in at around 350 lbs. Regardless, this project was a joy to see through to the end.
The design of this couch started as a modular form composed of detachable seats and an ottoman that fit together. I built a small moquette of the concept and then began to gather materials to finish the build.
As I mentioned before, the frame is made of steel square tubing. I began with welding three 2 foot squares together. I then created brackets that held all the squares together along with a back support and arm rests.
I wanted to create a visual flow between the arm rests and the legs of the couch. This is why both of those elements have a unique look to them. It was an added bonus that the legs had a slight optical illusion aspect to them once they were complete.
Once the frame was finished, I began to look into how I would attach cushions and material to it. I used an expanded galvanized metal grating to support the carpet padding on top of the steel frame (working with this material is how I learned about zinc poisoning and how much it sucks).
With the grating in place, I was finally able to sit on my creation. At this point it resembled more of an odd looking park bench than a modern couch. I decided to use layers of carpet padding as a base layer for the cushioning. I ended up using a grommet and cable corset-like solution to cover the steel frame with a pleather material. (In retrospect, this might not have been the most elegant of ideas, but it did the job)
On the first draft of this couch I had wooden arms with steel plate screwed in to the surface for an industrial feel. I also had the opportunity to create cushions out of a memory foam topper and black pleather. I later encased the wooden arms in steel sheet metal and created a steel shelf that wrapped around the sides and back of the couch.