Hand-made from start to finish: crafting the Mimi.
Surrounded by vibrant green rice fields and ponds full of shrimp, the workshop where the legs for the Mimi are crafted is easy to miss. From two and three-seater sofas to armchairs and ottomans, each Mimi is inspired by Fifties design with legs that have been tapered in the iconic mid-century shape.
Sitting beside a pile of rough oak planks, Kè sands a freshly-turned leg. “This is the final part of the leg process,” she says. “We sand each leg by hand, making sure we remove any blemishes.”
Cardboard templates hang from hooks, each one labelled with a number that corresponds to a particular piece of the Mimi’s frame. Each one is a stencil, traced onto a plank of solid, New Zealand pine which is then cut out with a hand-guided electric saw. Artisans assemble the pieces with speed and precision to the beat of hammers and the humming of sanders. The Mimi begins to take shape.
Hai walks us through the upholstery of our Powder Blue two-seater Mimi. He hangs it over the shoulders of the sofa like a cape, pulling the fabric taut over the seat back, bracing against it with his foot and fastening it to the frame. It’s a hard, physical job, and all the artisans on the workshop floor – applying the webbing, the foam filling, and the fabric – are men.
He then brings out the buttons we use on the Mimi armchairs, two- and three-seater sofas from the sewing room. They make them using an antique button press. Hai lays them over the Mimi and tilts the back of the sofa up to face him. Poised, with lithe movement, he punches the needle into the fabric, fastening 18 perfectly covered buttons to the back of the two-seater sofa’s seat.
Foam pads are inserted into the covers. Hai pummels and thumps them, getting the foam pads to sit right and lie smooth. “This process is the most complicated part,” he tells us, standing back to survey his work and then stepping forward to whack the cushions again. “It’s important that the finished product looks perfect.”
Take a closer look at our Mimi collection