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Mushroom by Pierre Paulin / how to re-upholster?

- 12 Jun 2013 -
13 posts / 0 new

How hard is it to reupholster a mushroom chair by Paulin (produced by Artifort?) Can't find an awfull lot of information about it. There's a zip on the front, but I assume the fabric doesn't just pull over the entire chair?


- 12 Jun 2013

Had something similar (a bit tighter on the curves) done a few years ago, the upholster said it would be no problem but ended up giving it back to me free of charge it was such a cock up. Something to do with setting the tension on the thread when they sew the zip in I think and of course the fabric, though it seemed pretty stretchy to me.

Would be interested to hear of what quality fabrics will do the job or any other suggestions, maybe crepe on the bias, Spanky?

- 12 Jun 2013

Thanks Heath,
would it be glued, the inside for instance, to the foam?
Have no experience with this. I am offered two of these, but they need recovering.

- 12 Jun 2013

I don't think so. I imagine that the fabric at the back of the seat is pulled downwards tightly and attached to the base ring internally with some sort of stretchy fastener. That and a drawstring underneath should keep it in position. But to be honest thats guesswork. I had a look at the artifort site but they don't suggest any fabrics or brand names that I can see.

- 12 Jun 2013

I think it has to be a
very stretchy knit fabric. The problem with the zipper that the other guy had is probably because the zipper doesn't stretch so the fabric would have to be along the long grain at the zipper, I guess. (The long grain being less stretchy than the cross grain.)

The problem he had with tension might also be that the thread and/or machine stitch may not have stretched as much as the fabric, which would give seams a puckered look and might cause the thread to break. You need to use a stretch stitch on the machine and probably a lot of industrial machines don't have this---I don't really know, I don't even have an industrial machine. (Someday, maybe.)

There is a very stretchy upholstery fabric on the market now, I think by Knoll. I have seen it. It looks like the fabric used in the inserts of athletic shoes except in the colors of office furniture you might see in Office Depot.


Yep, Knoll.

(and yes to what Heath surmised on how it fits onto the frame---at least as far as I can surmise, too)

- 12 Jun 2013

I take it back!
Here's one that is offered in Maharam/Kvadrat Tonus, which even though it is 10% elastic is not nearly as stretchy as a lot of knits. So maybe the side is cut on the bias, I dunno. If that's the case, then it would be hard to put the zipper in as the fabric would have to be stretched exactly as much as it would be once on the chair. The manufacturer would have worked this out exactly but an upholsterer redoing one would have those measurements. I can imagine a lot of hair-tearing trying to get it just right.

- 13 Jun 2013

If the existing chairs have upholstery that is sufficiently intact that the seams can be picked apart and the original pieces used as patterns for the new pieces, the I think it could be done without too much trouble. Of course, you have to account for the time to pick apart some very long seams.

It looks entirely possible that the original fabric was ease stitched in places (using steam or moisture to selectively shrink the fabric before sewing to create compound curves). So if that is the case you couldn't use a synthetic.

- 13 Jun 2013

You can actually rip seams
very quickly a lot of the time by anchoring one end with a clamp to the edge of a table, then running a seam ripper along the stitching. It usually works better one direction than the other.

- 13 Jun 2013

Just out of curiosity I did some googling on restoring this sort of thing and found this at hivemodern

Please note that we advise upholstering the Ribbon chair in Tonus 3 or Momentum. Other fabrics may cause a number of pleats to appear, which cannot be avoided.

I'd go for hand stitching instead of the zip, its actually pretty fast and easy and from what Spanky has said sounds a bit more reliable. These fabrics aren't washable (or are they?) so the zip seems a bit redundant really.

- 14 Apr 2015

The best way is to sew the Pierre Paulin Mushroom by hand.  As the fabric is under a lot of tension, it must be stretched by the upholsterer continuously.  Replicating the original small, tight stitching pattern requires a pretty high level of skill.  

The older chairs usually need their foam rubber replaced too. The early chairs used natural latex foam rubber, which is often very hard and crumbly now.  It is still available though.

Olek Lejbzon

- 15 Nov 2017

Did you end up recovering the Mushroom Chair? I'm in the same predicament now. I have a chair that needs new foam and fabric. Wondering what is the best fabric to purchase for this chair? I found a local upholster to do the work.
Thank You!

- 15 Nov 2017

Hi Nicole,
We have reupholstered many Mushroom Chairs, and the companion Ottomans. Knoll has various fabrics that are compatible with the Mushroom's design, they have a table listing showing which fabrics are suitable for their chair models . If your upholsterer hasn't done them before, be wary of being his guinea pig. They are pretty easy chairs to ship if you need an upholsterer familiar with them.

- 15 Nov 2017

Thank You for your reply! I will check out the Knoll fabric! My upholsterer said he has done a chair like this before. What would you charge for foam and upholstery service for this chair?

Thanks again!!

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