If you spotted this sofa in someone else’s yard, getting rained on, you might lament the apparent ruin of a perfectly good piece of leather furniture. Or perhaps you’d try to salvage it as a curbside find, only to tug on one end and find it curiously heavy. For all the gleaming leather grain, stitched seams and buttons that make this couch look exactly like the real thing, getting up close and personal reveals the truth: it’s not leather at all, or even faux leather. It’s concrete.
Edinburgh, Scotland based design firm FourEightEight achieved this ultra-authentic look by making a mold from a real leather couch and then casting concrete inside it, capturing every little quirk, from the finely pebbled texture to the minor imperfections, and the coloring process completes the illusion.
Anyone who approaches it thinking it’s an ordinary sofa is in for a surprise when they take a seat, instantly realizing from its unforgiving surfaces and not-so-cushiony-cushions that it’s not what it seems at first glance. But that hardness is what makes this ‘leather’ sofa a great fit for outdoor spaces, since it can withstand all sorts of weather conditions, including harsh sun, heat, wind, rain and snow.
Though it’s technically a two-seater, FourEightEight’s creation can seat three people, and it’s easier to move than it looks. The couch isn’t made of solid concrete; it’s hollow, weighing about 220-286 pounds, “depending on how wild I go with the concrete on a particular day,” explains the creator. That makes it a four-person job to lift, while solid concrete would require a forklift just to set it down in your yard.
The concrete portion sits on a stand of welded steel in either a standard couch shape for indoor use, or a non-standard rectangular shape, which keeps it stable on soft ground like grass. You can also attach it to a hard surface in case you’re afraid a stranger will really try to make off with it.
A combination of different glass fibers reinforces the concrete to make it ultra-durable, and it’s available in a range of colors as well as custom options, finished with a protective sealant. Holes drilled in the lowest points let water drain out to prevent damage.
Unusual as it may seem, this isn’t even the first realistic-looking concrete sofa to hit the market. UK-based company Gray Concrete produced their own fiberglass-reinforced cast concrete couch in the shape of a Chesterfield. They even replaced the cushions inside the original sofa with rigid foam to retain the imprints of users’ behinds before casting, resulting in a design that cradles you more comfortably than any concrete garden bench.