Did you know?
Just take a look behind the perfect design, and you will discover the quality at the heart of every piece of Rolf Benz furniture. It takes exactly the right feeling for shape and design to create a classic. To construct it, you need one thing in particular: experience. We have been perfecting our furniture for more than 50 years, continually developing the structural design, upholstery and covers. The result is superb quality, “made in Germany”, unmistakably Rolf Benz, and palpable in every centimetre of your sofa. Discover for yourself the secret of this incredibly comfortable sitting experience and outstanding durability. Learn to appreciate the differences in the way upholstery is constructed. Understand that leather isn’t just leather. And find out which sofa is the best match for you and your own lifestyle.
You can see by looking at a sofa that it is a Rolf Benz – but you can feel it even more. Hidden behind it are decades of experience, and superb quality and craftsmanship, thanks to our excellent and highly skilled staff. Together, these quality characteristics combine to create the basis for the legendary Rolf Benz sitting comfort. We would now like to take you behind the scenes to discover, step by step, the secret of sitting comfortably, and help you find the right upholstery for you.
We at Rolf Benz like it casual – for a good reason. It means that in contrast to firm upholstery, you can sit in the sofa, instead of on it. The top-quality craftsmanship allows your body weight to spread evenly over the entire surface, and so guarantees you a sitting experience that it is ergonomically correct and healthy. Because we want the best for you: the best possible sitting comfort.
Only a question of design: which variant of springing system is used in your sofa is a matter of minor importance in relation to the ultimate sitting comfort. It provides a pleasant “give” when you sit down and stand up. It’s only the shape of the sofa that influences the master upholsterer’s choice of springing system – pocket springs, sinuous steel springs or another type of springing system. It is the construction of the upholstery that is responsible for the quality of the sitting experience.
Construction of upholstery.
In the search for the perfect sitting comfort, Rolf Benz developed a method of building up a seat layer by layer, like a sandwich. You can feel the advantages of this technique today when you sit on any Rolf Benz sofa. Perfectly coordinated combinations of foam, put together by hand, are the secret of this layered seat construction. Cold foam, moulded foam, soft foam and block foam ensure the best possible sitting experience at every point, over the whole depth of the sofa. You could have a firm seat at the front and soft at the back – exactly how you want it. And Rolf Benz maintains the shape with the upholstery cover too – between the layers of the seat and the cover fabric. The carefully laminated nonwoven used allows it to stretch evenly. Even when it is used over a long period, the high-quality special foam maintains its original volume. With some of our sofa ranges, you can choose an even softer sitting experience thanks to an additional layer of patented foam rods which provide the squashy soft surface you are looking for. The result: perceptibly more comfortable sitting.
The best quality materials, first-class craftsmanship, and a marked quality awareness – there are plenty of reasons why Rolf Benz upholstery is so durable. Above all, it has to do with the especially high density of the foam. More density = longer lasting pleasure in your sofa. This simple formula puts it in a nutshell. Because it is above all the density and not the firmness of a foam that determines what the quality, durability and dimensional stability are. The German Furniture Quality Assurance Association (Deutsche Gütegemeinschaft Möbel, DGM) has introduced its own quality standards in this respect (= backrest upholstery gross density > 28 kg/m3, seat upholstery gross density > 35 kg/m3): these are not only complied with by Rolf Benz, they are often exceeded (= backrest upholstery gross density > 28 – 50 kg/m3, seat upholstery gross density > 35 – 80 kg/m3). As far as you are concerned, this means a level of quality way above the average, and a top sitting comfort that will last for many years.
All the upholstered furniture of the ROLF BENZ and freistil ROLF BENZ brands have been awarded “Blue Angel” certification by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Umweltbundesamt (Federal Environment Agency), the Environmental Label Jury and RAL GmbH. This well-respected ecolabel certifies that all the sofas, armchairs and chairs are low-emission. The environmentally friendly production of the upholstery materials used (foams and mats) and cover materials (leather and fabrics) is also certified. In addition to the issue of eco-friendly production of the materials used, the criteria for the award of the “Blue Angel” for “low-emission upholstered furniture” also includes the possibility of replacing individual worn parts, as well as the usability, packaging, recycling and disposal of the seating. So you may rest assured that Rolf Benz places great value on living healthily and on responsible use of resources.
When making this decision, it is best just to rely on your own sitting preference. In principle, the softer the upholstery construction and the upholstery cover, the more you will sink down into the sofa – meaning sitting more comfortably. On the other hand, a firmer upholstery makes it easier to sit down and stand up, as you do not sink so deep into the sofa. True to the motto “you should sit in a sofa, not on it”, various kinds of waviness in the cover and depressions in the seat – depending on the model - may typically occur. They are not a quality defect. We recommend that you take advice from our retail partners’ qualified staff, and allow yourself plenty of time to try out the seating for yourself.
Our customers’ taste is just as varied as their homes. That’s why Rolf Benz offers you around 230 fabric covers and 80 leather covers, so that you can customise your chosen furniture to match your personal style. Because only the right combination of materials and colours help to show off design and space to the best effect – which makes you happy. This section is designed to help you with the important decision of finding the right fabric or the right leather for your wishes.
Not every cover in your favourite colour will be the right one for you. There are external factors such as wear, use and environment to be taken into account when making your choice of cover. For instance where strong sunlight comes in through large windows, you will need to choose a cover that is colour-fast. Also, the halogen light from a reading lamp can cause colours to fade – and that may result in the need for additional maintenance. For families with children, tough cover materials that are easy to care for are more suitable than fine natural leathers in light colours. So before you buy, consider where your upholstered furniture will eventually be positioned, and what requirements it needs to fulfil.
You can only guarantee long-term pleasure in your cover if it has been subjected to regular stringent material tests. Light fastness, rub fastness, pilling characteristics and abrasion resistance are the four main test criteria a cover has to fulfil before it meets the Rolf Benz quality requirements. These are sometimes twice as stringent as the standards of the German Furniture Quality Assurance Association (Deutsche Gütegemeinschaft Möbel DGM). For good reason. Many of the fabrics and leathers on the market seem at first sight to have excellent properties in terms of comfort, yet they do not conform to the Rolf Benz standards test. Every cover material is therefore painstakingly examined in an exhaustive series of tests before it can be incorporated in the Rolf Benz cover collection.
You will find all the test results on the four test areas, together with further important information, as well as the typical and functional characteristics, on the back of the relevant sample in the Rolf Benz fabric trolley. Please do read through this information carefully before making your decision. We are keen to make sure that you decide on the right cover material, one that meets both your preferences and also your requirements – so that you will enjoy your sofa for years to come.
The Rolf Benz ComforLux system allows you to find the cover that suits your lifestyle – quickly and easily. ComforLux stands for top-class furniture leathers and fabrics and specially selected surface finishes. The colour labels show you which cover gives you the ComforLux quality you want. They will act as a helpful orientation in the fabric trolley when you are with the reseller. ComforLux optima offers an ideal synthesis of comfort and toughness. Ideal in the case of normal use. ComforLux supra can be relied on to have an extremely robust quality, very high abrasion resistance, and above-average light fastness. Ideal in the case of heavy use or bright sunlight. ComforLux élégance is suitable for connoisseurs and those who love sophisticated covers, and offers particularly fine qualities with unique comfort characteristics (raw materials, craftsmanship, touch etc.), similar to a cashmere pullover for the sofa. So here it is natural to expect a more limited durability and more frequent maintenance.
People have been working with leather for more than 40,000 years, yet few know so much about this unique natural product as the skilled staff at Rolf Benz. That’s why we use the top quality leathers. We only use leathers that are taken from the top, that is the most valuable, layer of the hide. Our high-quality ComforLux élégance leathers, for instance, come from cattle from South Germany or Europe. What distinguishes these leathers? A particularly wide usable area, extraordinarily good texture of the hide, and no branding. The advantages are fewer joining seams and a uniform appearance. First class hides require the best possible treatment during finishing. So it is only the best tanneries that are considered for Rolf Benz. Our passion for leather ensures premium quality for every single Rolf Benz sofa.
This exclusive quality of leather is the most prized and is particularly durable. It comes only from the top layer of the hide. The leather is characterised by natural marks on the hide, such as the grain on the surface as well as the even thickness – unlike split leather. This less high-quality leather comes from the lower layers of the hide, and is often artificially embossed to make it look like full leather. Rolf Benz premium covers are characterised by various different qualities of nappa leather:
Nappa leather, full-grain, natural.
Only a few cattle hides fulfil the quality requirements of these most fine leathers. No more than 20 per cent of hides present the kind of uniform appearance required to produce this leather. Natural leather (also known as aniline leather) is dyed in the drum. Water-soluble dyes are absorbed into every fibre of the hide, and dye the leather right through. The natural open-pored texture of the hide remains completely preserved, and so do all the natural features such as insect bites, thorn scratches etc. These characteristic marks show that this highest-quality leather is genuine. Natural leather possesses the best features in terms of comfort, soft to feel, almost like textiles, and with a particularly good breathability. However the variety and intensity of the colours is not especially extensive, since the leather can only be dyed in a few natural shades. Natural leather is classified under the Rolf Benz ComforLux élégance, and it should not be exposed to direct sunlight.
Nappa leather, full-grain, lightly pigmented.
This type of leather (also known as semi-aniline leather) is treated with a light coat of pigment in addition to the dyeing in the drum. It is open-pored, and is distinguished by being somewhat more evenly dyed. The natural characteristics are not as evident as in natural leather, but are nevertheless still visible, and are still accepted as evidence of exclusive quality. Compared with natural leather, the range of dyes is wider, though it is still limited to the classic leather colours. Advantages of the light coat of pigment are better light fastness and improved functional properties in comparison with purely natural leather. The lightly pigmented leather also belongs to the ComforLux élégance category.
Nappa leather, full-grain, pigmented.
In this leather, colour pigmentation is applied to the surface of the hide. The natural characteristics remain visible, though partially covered. The leather is less soft and supple, yet has very good functional qualities. It is very durable, achieves excellent results in terms of light fastness, and is exceptionally easy to maintain. In addition, it is possible to use a very large variety of dyes in classic as well as bright modern colours. Because it is so easy to maintain, and because it is so light fast, this type of leather is classified as ComforLux supra.
Nappa leather, corrected grain, pigmented.
In this leather, the natural characteristics are as far as possible removed before the dye is applied. The surface of the hide is buffed off (lightly or strongly) so that grain and other characteristic features fade, leaving a uniform appearance. In addition, the surface can be embossed. In relative terms, this leather is the best value option, since full leathers can be processed that would never be suitable for the production of full-grain nappa leather because of the original natural characteristics on the hide. You will find this leather at Rolf Benz in the ComforLux optima category. It is particularly recommended for normal use.
Nubuck leather is a soft, through-dyed leather which is buffed on its outer surface (upper grain side). The grain is still visible, so that the leather remains completely natural, and it has a fine velvet-like feel that makes it specially supple. The rough buffing gives the leather its characteristic finger writing effect. The interesting ever-changing shading on the surface gives it a vibrant look. Only the best hides can be used for this fine attractive leather. Rolf Benz sometimes uses a so-called nubucked leather which has an additional coating which minimises the finger writing effect. Like the nubuck leather, this belongs to the ComforLux élégance category.
Rolf Benz can offer you the right leather for every requirement. It is best if you just make your decision on the basis of the comfort, appearance, ease of maintenance and light fastness you want. You will find that the leathers in the ComforLux élégance class in particular have outstanding comfort features such as touch, softness, suppleness and breathability. The natural and lightly-pigmented leathers belong to this group too. They are among the most exclusive and most expensive overall, since– because of the very stringent requirements in terms of quality and appearance of the hides – there are not very many of them available in global markets. On the other hand, pigmented leathers have better functional properties. The Rolf Benz ComforLux optima und ComforLux supra categories are more hard-wearing, easier to maintain, and more light fast. In addition, the natural characteristics of the surface of the hide are less visible, so the leathers have a more uniform appearance.
Just like our own skin, leather is a product of nature – with its own natural characteristics, and a size limited by growth. It is necessary for reasons of geometry and appearance always to divide a hide into smaller pieces, which then fulfil the relevant Rolf Benz quality requirements. This is why, unlike fabrics, several individual sections are always needed for a leather cover, each one of them different from the other. Additional joining seams, as well as deviations of colour and texture, are the result. These are small details you may not even be aware of, but which are always a clear indication of a high-quality leather product. It is these natural characteristics of the hide that demonstrate the value and the character of the leather.
Just like your own skin, leather needs care too, in order to stay soft and supple. So at least twice a year, give your Rolf Benz leather product a treatment, and maintain the first-class leather quality. Information about caring for leather can be found in the Rolf Benz product passport included with every sofa delivery. Rolf Benz recommends that you always use the care products of leather care specialists Leather Care Keller (LCK): these produced the best results in the continuous tests. It is easy to order the appropriate care product online at www.lck-rolfbenz.com. You will receive a free starter-set with every leather item. “First aid” for scratches and abrasions, and answers to questions about leather can be found in your Rolf Benz product passport, at www.lck-international.com, or direct from the Leather Care Keller service hotline +49 (0) 800 / 9 62 52 52 or +49 (0) 72 51/9 62 50.
No other covering can individually suit your requirements as well as fabric can. The possible variations of the many kinds of woven fabric, from fine to tough, are far more wide-ranging than in the case of leather. The number of ways in which various raw materials, yarns, colours, patterns and tactile properties can be combined is almost infinite. Different function-specific properties such as abrasion resistance, pilling behaviour, light fastness and rub fastness can be adapted to suit every requirement. You can find out in this section which fabric is best suited to your home.
What exactly is meant by the word fabric? Fabric is the generic term for all textile materials such as woven fabrics, knitwear and nonwoven textiles. Now let us have a closer look at the most important properties of woven fabrics, and how to distinguish between them.
A woven fabric is fabric that is constructed by interlacing at right angles at least two sets of threads (warp and weft). The way in which both sets of threads interlace is called the weave.
Flat woven fabrics such as pile fabrics are suitable for use in upholstery. Flat woven fabrics have a smooth surface whose volume can only be altered to a very limited extent because of the weave technology. Jacquard – to name but one flat woven fabric – is produced on special looms where each thread is individually controlled. This allows for very complex designs with a great many colours that are principally used in upholstery as ornamental fabrics for cushion covers.
Pile fabrics contain additional sets of threads that create tufts and loops which have a direct influence on the bulk and thickness of the woven fabric. One important sub-category of pile fabric is woven pile fabric. This owes its character to the cut or uncut loops of pile that are attached to the basic weave. Cut pile is also called velours. Uncut woven pile fabric with small loops on the upper side is known as epinglé.
Which materials does Rolf Benz use for its fabrics? It is primarily the function-specific properties that dictate the choice of materials. Whether natural or synthetic fibres are preferred depends initially on the demands made on the cover. The determining factor is the raw material or the proportion of components of the raw materials. The properties can be further altered by texturing – which means finishing the yarn. The aim is to develop the best possible yarn with the best quality for the functional properties required and for the effects of the subsequent fabric. You can find out in the following section which materials would be best for the kind of cover you want.
It is not always the finest fabric that is the right one. The fabric that is perfect for you depends principally on the demands you are going to make on the cover. Rolf Benz is continuously working in collaboration with the best known German and international fabric manufacturers to develop new fabrics. But before they can be accepted into our cover collection, they have to be subjected to a long series of stringent tests. For you, the outcome is positive in every case: top quality and above all, years of enjoyment of your sofa.
This wear testing involves examining how quickly fibres in flat woven fabric wear through, or bare worn patches appear in woven pile fabric. A test fabric and a woven fabric are rubbed together until a maximum of three fibres of a flat woven fabric are destroyed, or in the case of woven pile fabric until there is visible loss of fibres. To satisfy our high quality requirements, fabrics in the ComforLux élégance category must withstand more than 10,000 rubs, in the ComforLux optima more than 15,000, and in ComforLux supra more than 20,000. As a comparison, the minimum standard for abrasion resistance of the German Furniture Quality Assurance Association (Deutsche Gütegemeinschaft Möbel DGM) is 10,000 rubs.
Rub fastness (colour fastness).
Rub fastness describes the resistance of colours of furniture fabrics to rubbing off or bleeding (staining) on other textiles. Generally, dark and bright colours have lower rub fastness than lighter shades.
Certain fabrics are specially susceptible to developing little bobbles, known in technical jargon as “pills”, that develop on the surface during use, as a result of rubbing against other materials. The twisted fibres work themselves out of the cover fabric, but they do not adversely affect its durability, and they can be removed with a special razor. The looser and fluffier a yarn or woven fabric is, the greater the danger of pilling.
All woven textiles are susceptible to the effect of direct sunlight. Dark colours alter more quickly as a result of exposure to light than lighter colours.
Pure new wool.
Pure new wool is classified as wool that is sheared exclusively from healthy sheep and may not be mixed with lesser qualities. The advantages of pure new wool are that it is highly resilient and durable. Pressure marks hardly ever develop during use. One really special feature is its natural dirt-repellent protective layer of lanolin. In order to keep its beneficial effects in the long term, wool fabrics must always be handled with great care, and must not be cleaned with harsh chemical detergents or washed at temperatures above 40 °C.
Cotton is a plant fibre that comes from the protective capsule of fibres that protect the seeds of cotton plants. Cotton fabric is characterised by its excellent resistance to mechanical and chemical influences. It is very tear-resistant, and is far more rub-fast than pure new wool or spun viscose fibre. Even extreme heat has little effect on cotton. What is more, because it is so absorbent, it is exceptionally comfortable for the skin, and it has excellent hygienic properties. However, because their light-fastness is lower than that of wool, cotton covers should not be exposed to direct sunlight.
Viscose is a synthetic fibre based on cellulose that is produced from organic materials, and has good hygienic properties thanks to its capacity to swell. During the manufacture of viscose, raw fibre materials are dissolved into liquid form, then passed through fibre-shaped nozzles and then hardened. Like all synthetic fibres, viscose can be manufactured to a consistently high quality, and it stands out for its extraordinary brightness of colour. Viscose is also notable for its soft, supple feel, and its typically silky sheen.
Synthetic fibre fabric.
To create synthetic fibre fabric, people rearrange the atoms and molecules of raw materials. Fibres are obtained by creating long artificial chains of molecules – fibres which have exceptional qualities. Polyamide and polyester are among the most significant of these synthetic fibres. Polyamides are extremely resilient, highly resistant to tearing, rub-fast, and swell-resistant, as well as very quick-drying. Polyester, which is very light, is known for its remarkable strength and very good light-fastness. So this results in polyester having very similar characteristics to the natural fibres wool and silk. When humidity is low, synthetic fabrics may occasionally be subject to static electricity, which is released when touching a grounded object. This electrostatic charge can be minimised if the sofa is regularly rubbed with a clean damp cloth, or if the humidity is increased to over 45 per cent.
Upholstered furniture with fabric covers needs regular precautionary care and maintenance in order to keep it looking beautiful in the long term. Please note the information in the Rolf Benz product passport included with every delivery. For any other questions about the care and maintenance of fabric we recommend contacting LCK Vertriebs GmbH. LCK has an online shop (www.lck-rolfbenz.com) where you can find the appropriate care and maintenance products for your cover, as well as expert advice (tel +49 (0) 72 51/96 25-0), and on request we can put you in touch with an experienced specialist (throughout Germany).
Anyone who wants to guarantee years of pleasure in their products must also be able to guarantee those products. As far as quality and workmanship are concerned, Rolf Benz‘s attitude is to demand far more than the average, which therefore sets standards. The rigorous quality standards set by the Rolf Benz company together with the testing and quality requirements of the German Furniture Quality Assurance Association (DGM) guarantee the highest possible level of quality of each item of Rolf Benz upholstered furniture. Rolf Benz offers a 5 year warranty on upholstered furniture, chairs and benches covering construction, upholstery material, function and workmanship of the entire upholstered structure. The Rolf Benz service guarantee allows for smaller repairs to be carried out on the spot by a mobile customer service unit. And Rolf Benz‘s self-imposed sense of obligation guarantees you a flawless and healthy product. Please note that a claim under the warranty may only be made by the person who commissioned the production of the furniture.
Healthy living is the most natural thing in the world for Rolf Benz. As voluntary members of the German Furniture Quality Assurance Association (Deutsche Gütegemeinschaft Möbel DGM) our duties range far beyond just fulfilling legal health regulations. We see it as our obligation to ensure that you have the top level of healthy living. So at Rolf Benz you will find limit values for harmful substances significantly below those proscribed by legislation; not only that, you will also find guidelines for harmful substances that do not fall within legal requirements. For you, this means a guarantee of more healthy living – something our suppliers also have to guarantee. In line with the purchasing conditions at Rolf Benz, suppliers are committed to comply with the legal regulations and requirements of the German Furniture Quality Assurance Association (Deutsche Gütegemeinschaft Möbel DGM). In addition to our principle of voluntary self-regulation, there are authorised independent institutes who regularly check that the standards laid down by the German Furniture Quality Assurance Association (Deutsche Gütegemeinschaft Möbel DGM) are complied with and continuously developed. That’s why we say: live healthily and live with Rolf Benz.