The Hef - Design Bureau

The Hef

Bryan Batt

The Hef

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

How did the project of designing “The Hef” come to you?

Bryan Batt: I was approached to create something unique to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Playboy Club.

What about The Hef, the love seat, do you think best captures the essence of The Hef, the man?

The piece captures the essence of the Playboy era, and an inherent masculinity. The intention was to evoke the mood and feel of the elegant mid-century nightspots, which were all the rage amongst the cocktail set.

How did you decide what materials to use in The Hef?

I think mohair velvet is one of the sexiest fabrics in existence. The feel of the pile makes it irresistible to the touch. Coupled with the sturdy strength of the rosewood, which adds weight and a sense of history, as well as the nail head, which are definitive “club” details, the materials make for a very sophisticated love seat.

Can you lead us through your design process—from conceptualization to the finished product?

I did some research online and drew from design books and old design magazines, but really my inspiration comes from everywhere. I started sketching, then handed it over to the artisans at Brownstone Furniture, who skillfully created what I drew and designed, and after a few minor tweaks, The Hef was born.

Where do you do your designing?

I wish I had more space to design in my New Orleans shop, Hazelnut. Since I am constantly traveling for all my different work — acting (Mad Men, Ugly Betty), my book (She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Mother), and designing — I find myself designing wherever I can...but I prefer my bed the most.

Describe the person who is likely to purchase this sofa?

Initially, the piece was designed specifically for the Playboy collector; however, I believe it appeals to all collectors of fine furnishings. It easily blends with many styles of decor for both the home and office. But there will only be 50 of these love seats made, each one signed by Mr. Hefner.

Have you designed other furniture pieces? And what other projects do you have in the works now?

Just a few personal pieces, but I would love to design’s actually being discussed. We (Batt and longtime business and life partner Tom Cianfichi) just bought a home in New Orleans and are in the process of decorating now. I am also working on another book for Potter entitled Mad For Design, in which we photograph rooms and talk with the different designers who created them, and apply my design thoughts, ideas and concepts.

Your character Sal on Mad Men is an art director at an advertising agency. As a designer, were you more drawn to part due to the character’s artistic nature?

I think it was a wonderful twist of fate. Sal is so brilliantly written, it has been a joy to play him.

Does the Hef (the man) own The Hef (the love seat)?

He should!

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