When a person is truly passionate about design, it’s pretty easy to pick up on that fact. And when Maxwell Ryan, founder of interior design editorial website Apartment Therapy, talks about his partnership with I/D on a new namesake sofa collection, his enthusiasm is obvious. “As I’ve looked across the design world, this sofa is a missing piece: a beautiful design at a great price,” says Ryan. “At Apartment Therapy, we’re all about solving problems, and I didn’t want to create a piece that already exists. This sofa fills a much-needed gap. We took a traditional shape, which means comfy and cozy and approachable, but made it fresh and contemporary. I think it’s something that our readers will really love.”
The Maxwell sofa features a thick, contoured arm, luxurious piping details and a low-profile seat height, making it modern and classic at once. The thinner, floating frame, raised by a new turned leg style, makes the sofa seem light and airy, even with its wide seat depth and overstuffed, down-filled back cushions. “The Maxwell sofa has a specific character, but it’s still approachable by many different people,” says Ryan. “People love a cozy room. And this can work in a modern environment, or this can be mixed into a traditional environment as well. It has curves, but we’ve cleaned it up and removed all kinds of fussy details. Depending on your style—with different pillows, a rug, et cetera—it’s very open to interpretation.”
View our in-depth interview with Maxwell Ryan and learn more about the design process.
Ryan has a deep understanding of aesthetics, having reported on them for more than a decade on Apartment Therapy. But he also has actual furniture design credentials, having studied the subject in graduate school. So no detail was left unconsidered, and he paid special attention to the subtleties of the sofa. Alongside the I/D team, Ryan worked out all the nuances of the cushion sit and configuration. “It was a big deal to me,” he says. “It had to be comfortable. I went all over New York, and I figured out what felt right to me based on what I could sit on. And we did two cushions on the seat, and three on the back, which is unique. It would have been normal to do two and two, or three and three. It’s a bit of a different language, and it’s a small detail, but it looks beautiful.”
All said and done, the realization of the Maxwell sofa far exceeded everyone’s expectations, including Ryan’s. Starting as just a collection of inspiration images from interiors publications, and—after months of back-and-forth and iterations and revisions—ending as a perfectly proportioned piece of furniture, the entire process was incredibly fulfilling. “For the last 10 years on Apartment Therapy,” says Ryan, “I’ve been coaching people on how to find their own style, and writing about homes, but I hadn’t been able to actually design anything in 20 years. I’ve seen everything that’s out there, and I think I have something to contribute.” His welcome contribution, The Maxwell sofa and Maxwell slipcovered sofa are now available, with additional pieces coming to the collection later this year.