How would you describe your style? “Playful, clean, reduced to an essence.”
What influences do you seek out? “Influences from the environment – materials, quality, sustainability and influence from people and culture – behaviour, practice, craft. I am influenced daily by music and musicians – listening to the message, its freedom, its ability to be meditative and thoughtful at the same moment.”
What is your favourite material to work with? “Metals. Their workability, the character of their stresses, the theatre of transformation, melting, bending, punching, creasing …”
“My Wrinkle table and Tangle stool designs both share the same bent-steel-tube detail. When a tube is bent we usually work hard to prevent deformation, but with these projects I sought to use the deformation in a decorative way.”
Tell us about your Arm chair.“The piece is produced using techniques from handrail manufacture. Steamed timber makes a perfect handrail: smooth and flowing, to touch and guide you around space. This tactility leads the eye to the chair-like form in the centre.”
What was the idea behind it? “A piece like this is different to most of my work in that it is a display, not to be touched. What drives this is a desire to connect with others, create a smile in the mind of all who see it.
“There is a lot of design that doesn’t deserve to take itself as seriously as it does. I believe humour is conducive to creativity. Ever since I was young, making up stories and exploring the ridiculous have set me up to question, and to think differently to others. What is unusual is often funny, and vice versa.
“A playful spirit in design leads to objects that make people happy. The Cloud lamp has such a quality – two or three everyday dome pendants have been merged into a new form in its own right. It creates a smile in the mind.”
Which part of the design process do you like the most? “The first part; where anything is possible. I always begin by writing down all my assumptions and preconceived ideas, then go back and check my intuition against observed conditions.”
You work on art, products and spaces. Can lessons from working on a smaller scale be applied to a larger scale? “Everything should be designed on the human scale, so in a way it does not matter what size the work is – it starts with people. You work it out from there.”
What can we expect from you next? “My stay in Hong Kong for the launch of the COS window has been very inspirational. The dominance of granite in the landscape and the furniture of street life were particularly good kernels of ideas that I have begun to explore.”