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.


Perhaps I bit off more than I could chew.
Looking back I think that college is the time where you should do this more often than not. You really do not know what you are capable of until you challenge yourself. The more you put yourself in these types of situations the more you grow and develop. So yeah the destination or end result is important but it does not hold a candle to the benefits of the journey