On the Sofa with Commune

About the Commune Collection

Commune: - ˈkɒmjuːn/ -stands for community.

George Smith likes nothing more than to feel inspired and to push boundaries in furniture design and manufacture, and our collection with Commune gave us the perfect opportunity to experiment!

George Smith’s Commune collection is made up of English classics, reimagined for a casual Californian lifestyle. Combined with Commune's love of history and high quality craftsmanship, it formed the base for a perfect partnership. The collection honours the traditional, while at the same time integrating new attitudes, ease and comfort into the mix; something that has proved to be successful in many an interior space.

Commune play with proportion elements within their furniture design. By doing so, they successfully achieve customized and simplified frames and legs. Natural wood finishes, rich velvets and washed Belgian linen are also introduced into the collection. The rich and varied experience of Commune’s team is clearly reflected in the holistic approach and collaborative mind-set that they bring to each project. All these creative twists and intuitive elements help to form pieces which feel equally at home in a house in Hollywood hills, an urban loft space in New York and a Tudor English estate.

On the Sofa with Commune’s founders: Roman Alonso & Steven Johanknecht

Commune is a Los Angeles-based design studio, which values the strength of the collective mind and has a reputation for holistic work across the fields of architecture, graphic design, interior design, product design and brand management. We sat On the Sofa with Roman and Steven to find out more about their holistic approach.

1. What was the inspiration behind the Commune collection for George Smith?
The ‘Turkish’ pieces are inspired by the traditional Turkish seating style, which is low to the ground, deep and wonderfully comfortable. Reimagining the classic George Smith Chesterfield led Commune to develop a family of ‘Channeled’ pieces with a clean and modern yet luxurious look. The tight seat and low profile of the back and arms make these pieces more casual, yet elegant. The ‘bun’ foot adds an element of freshness as well.

2. What’s one of your favourite spots in Los Angeles?
It is difficult to pick one as there are so many incredible places in LA, but we really love spending time in the Will Rogers State Park. Not only do you hike the best trails, you can also visit the home of Will Rogers, a perfect specimen of Western interior design. Plus sometimes you can have a picnic while you watch a polo match, with a view of LA as the backdrop. It’s cowboy star heaven. We also love the new Hauser & Wirth gallery in downtown LA; it’s an incredible addition to the cultural landscape, the type of thing that makes you proud to say you live here.

3. What trends do you predict in the coming months coming from Los Angeles?
Because of the wide variety of projects and styles we work in, we don’t really follow trends. In a way, we feel that being in California is about having a sense of freedom and less about following what others do. However, it’s undeniable that Los Angeles has had an impact on design in the last couple of years and its biggest contribution may be the more relaxed and laid back lifestyle.

4. Los Angeles is famous for having an indoor outdoor living style. What’s the key to making this transition seamless?
It’s about creating open and inviting spaces that fit in their surroundings, rather than imposing on them. We always look at the surrounding environment as a source of inspiration.

5. Tell us some entertaining tips that are unique to Los Angeles!?
Los Angeles is one of the few places where you can plan an outdoor dinner any time of year. Therefore, it’s a big part of entertaining here. Even in the winter months cocktail parties and dinners out in the patio by the fire are common, but nothing beats a long leisurely dinner outdoors in the summertime.

6. Can you tell us about one of your latest projects where you used a piece from the Commune collection?
We recently completed a Spanish-Moorish Revival house in the Los Feliz area, originally designed by architect Stiles Clements who was inspired by the Alhambra in Granada. We pulled strong influences from the beautifully detailed, hand-painted ceilings, mixing in a range of styles from various periods to create an elegant yet inviting interior. To maintain this narrative, for the bedroom, we chose two pieces from our collaboration with George Smith: the Channeled Side Chair and the Wing Chair. For our collection we formed a new concept of English classics for a more casual California lifestyle, which is why they give the room a sophisticated yet comfortable feel. Photos below:

Channeled Side Chair & Wing Chair
The unique design of the furniture works with countless fabric varieties, colour schemes and house types, perfectly demonstrating the versatility of the Commune for George Smith collection.

Wing Chair
Luxuriously comfortable and extremely spacious, this particular design is great for cosying up into.

Channeled Side Chair
Compact and incredibly adaptable style of chair complete with velvet fabric.