livingstones - arda pebble system

Happy to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Livingstones, the pebble system

Livingstones, the famous pebble cushions from smarin, celebrate their 20th anniversary in 2023.

Their creation started in 2003, when the French design studio developed cushions and seats with massive, biophylic forms that closely imitate the shape of pebbles.
Since then, they have grown to become a real phenomenon, appearing in public and private collections, and exhibited in museums and public places around the world.

Playing with the visible and the sensitive

The original Livingstones are covered with pure virgin wool felted jersey, and do not contain any chemical dyes or finishes.
These artefacts are made from a single material unit and are therefore easily recyclable.
By breaking up with what we know about public seating, and with its conventional typology of complex furniture,they convert the reception area into a concretely light installation (less than 30 KG for the heaviest), and, since 2003, they embody the reflection of a frugal and utopian vision of a sustainable way of life.

Playing with scales

These giants were designed to destabilise our preconceived interiors and living conventions.
Their strength is built on the permanency of nature's archetypes and the representations that can emerge in visions from our subconscious.
The Livingstones represent the idea of stillness and slowness, and become landscapes,  whether domestic or public.
The range of shapes and densities of these cushions allows the creation of an unlimited variety of installations. Their scale and combination possibilities are the result of smarin's research into health, ergonomics and informal postures, with a particular emphasis on the deconstruction of hierarchical spaces. In this way, they stand as a reference to design practices dealing with the deconstruction of norms and conventions of living spaces.


Over the years, the Livingstones have been part of public collections and memorable museum and institutional exhibitions around the world. These include : the Centre Pompidou and the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, FR, the Geneva Ethnography Museum, CH, the Bourse de Commerce - Pinault Collection, Paris, FR and are present at the Cirque du Soleil headquarters, Montreal, CA and the FRAC Dunkerque 2020, FR.

For 15 years they have been the scenographic landscape of the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs at the Cannes Film Festival.

They have been selected for their scenic intensity by the world of luxury: Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior, Chopard, Lalique…

The collection has also been acquired by hotels: Hotel Sofitel Mogador Essaouira, MA, the Shangri La, Singapore, SG, the Kitayuzawa Mori No Soraniwa Hotel, Hokkaido, JP, the W Hotel and Residence, Palm Jumeirah, UAE or the Meurice, Paris FR; malls and clubs: Yacht Club de Monaco, MC, Al Bustan Complex Shopping Centre, Abu Dhabi, UAE, El Corté Inglés, Madrid, ES, Le Terrazze Shopping Centre, La Spezia, IT, Taby Centrum, Stockholm, SE, Unibail Rodamco Shopping Centre, Copenhagen, DK, etc.

And Livingstones are even being integrated into airports: Nice International Airport, Charles de Gaulle Airport, FR, Newark Airport, New York, US, Reykjavik Airport, IS, or Incheon Airport in Seoul, KR.

The ARDA Pebble System Limited Collection

Livingstones are now design icons, thanks to their unique form, their systemic approach, and their organic appearance. They have opened up a space within the Space, that of an ideal, permanent holiday, and continue to inspire us.

In 2023, with ARDA, Kvadrat's new upholstery fabric, the livingstones now seem to be wearing a fine organic texture, as if their surface had been covered with a protective lichen.

“Arda is a knitted upholstery textile which recreates complex natural forms, structures, surfaces, and colours found deep in the wild.
The tapestry-like expression of Arda changes to reflect the environment where it is situated. In this way, like the fluid experience of nature, the textile reveals surprising nuances and characteristics as its surroundings, or the conditions change.
Arda is crafted to minimise impact on the natural environments that it mimics. It is primarily constructed from natural woollen yarn – a renewable resource – using an innovative manufacturing process. A technique that, compared to conventional methods, reduces water consumption by between 80 to 95 per cent.” - Kvadrat

smarin's eshop

For many years, the Livingstones have been the subject of many copying attempts.
The collection is one of the most copied in the world, even though the Livingstones are a protected design.
Many have tried to imitate the pebble cushions, but smarin's expertise in materials and craftsmanship makes the Livingstones incomparable.
In 2023, smarin's pebbles are still handmade, in a local production process.
They are the active expression of a fragile balance.

smarin's unique approach is based on a multidisciplinary team that designs, manufactures in the workshop and distributes its projects directly.
This particularity composes a tool for independence and research in design.