Product Designer Focus

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In a recent BDP publication, Mark Simpson quoted Steve Jobs, saying: ‘Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.’ Although Mark was using this in reference to the noble art of design and architecture, it is product design that Steve Jobs was musing over – the very subject of this month’s Spotlight feature.

We have brought together probably the most eclectic mix of product designers you would ever wish to meet. In fact, probably the only thing they have in common is that they design things. Clearly, we wanted to give them an opportunity to show off about their work – and judging by their brilliant responses, some of them would make great salespeople – but we also wanted some deeper, more personal insights.

Most people know that we love our music, so asking which concert they would like to go to elicited some wonderful, eclectic responses. We also gave them the opportunity to say who they would invite to dinner from a pre-subscribed list. Interestingly, only half responded to that question (boo!) and, much to our surprise, the majority of those opted to dine with…well, read for yourselves.


Barry Jenkins

Company name: BroomeJenkins

What is the favourite thing you have designed?
Designed before smartphones, the I+ Kiosk for Cityspace marked an important development of consumer information services. It featured in the Design Council’s Design Against Crime study and was awarded a Chicago Athenaeum Good Design Award.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
In 2014 we brought 3D printing in-house. As a result, we use it all the time to apply greater scrutiny of our work in a way traditional methods of model making simply can not. It has changed how we work and delivered cost and time efficiencies.

Are your customer expectations changing?
The once distinct roles of design and engineering have become blurred through the use of CAD and other design technologies. Although some of our clients have great design engineering teams, some of them do not and so engineering becomes part of our work. This change is reflective of how, in many aspects of modern life, expectations increase.

If you could have tickets to see anyone in concert (who’s still alive), who would it be?
Matthew Halsall – playing Brockwell Park in June.


Spotlight Charles Dedman

Charles Dedman

Company name: Charles Dedman

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
In September I launched the Zapotec Range. A vibrant Mexican inspired collection with lazer cut marquetry – part of the emerging craft and technology overlap. I call it Craft Tech.

What is the favourite thing you have designed?
Easy – the award-winning Turner Carver. It launched my business into the industry, with great exposure, and we recently had a 50 piece order for a café in East London.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
Alongside the constant networking and sharing I do via my instagram (@charlesdedman), I have seen huge benefits in efficient 3D CAD modelling for commissions and collaborations with the finest UK makers. I can take a virtual model into the workshop with ease and accuracy. Clarity is key in the furniture industry.

Are your customer expectations changing?
I am seeing a larger demand for customisation from my customers. The Zapotec range is designed and tooled up in a way so that my customers can select a wide range of colours and timber veneers to fit perfectly in the desired environment. This has no change to the laser-cutting programme and tooling cost.

If you could have tickets to see anyone in concert (who’s still alive), who would it be?
If I could see anyone living in concert it would have to be the Mali band, Tinariwen. Odd choice, but they are perfect for those late night glue-ups in the workshop or studio sessions. Their music keeps me level headed and I’m sure a live concert would be full of like-minded people!


David Irwin

Company name: David Irwin Design Studio

What is the most recent product you have worked on?

The most recent product I have worked on is a stacking chair for Deadgood, called Setter. It’s designed for durability in both meeting and hospitality settings.

What is the favourite thing you have designed

The M Lamp, for Brooklyn-based lighting company, Juniper. It’s a small portable lamp which references 19th century mining lamps.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business? 3D modelling software has probably had the biggest impact on my business over the last few years. It’s allowed me to visualise ideas before getting into the workshop to try them out for real. Coupled with that is the advancements in CNC technologies, allowing for more complex processing of timber, which hasn’t been possible in the past.

If you could have tickets to see anyone in concert (who’s still alive), who would it be? Chemical Brothers.


Shawn Green

Company name: KI

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
KI works on numerous products concurrently on an annual basis. The most notable of the recent developments is a comprehensive systems collection that features an unprecedented level of user control over personal space. The concept is called Tattoo.

What is the favourite thing you have designed (not with current company)?
The Ruckus Collection and Sway.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
The ability to render realistic product concepts quickly. Also 3D printing has been extraordinarily impactful in reducing the duration of the development process.

Are your customer expectations changing?
Customers are looking for guidance around applications, not a feature dump. Furthermore, our clients are more and more focused on ideas and concepts that enrich the cultural and work/life experience. In the past, furniture decisions were primarily driven around financial metrics. Now decisions are being made with the goal of creating environments that drive higher levels of attraction and retention. People are quickly becoming the most valuable commodity.

If you had to choose one of the following to have dinner with – Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn, Vladimir Putin or Angela Merkel – who would it be and why?
Angela Merkel. She is intelligent and would provide a more worldly perspective on social and economic issues. Furthermore, I believe the world would benefit from having a greater number of competent female leaders.

If you could have tickets to see anyone in concert (who’s still alive), who would it be?
That is easy…the Black Keys.


Duncan Neil

Company name: Earthed by William Clark

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
Our soon to launch ‘Pilgrimage’ collection of luxury linen, inspired by a unique Victorian book of dried flowers originating from Scotland.

What is the favourite thing you have designed?
Probably Me-Shirts for my nephews when they were born.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
Definitely digital printing. As a textile designer I trained in screen print, working with beautiful processes, but when it comes to colour count this process restricts the amount of colours used due to cost of silk screen production. Digital eliminates this and allows high colour count designs to be produced.

Are customer expectations changing?
As the world, in particular the retail world, moves even further online, customers increasingly expect immediate dispatch of goods. Online sales are easy for consumers – they can order a number of goods, returning what they don’t want. It is a challenging but exciting retail environment for fabric brands.

If you had to choose one of the following to have dinner with – Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn, Vladimir Putin or Angela Merkel – who would it be and why?
Jeremy Corbyn – I appreciate many Labour values but would like to discuss how his socialist policies can work for SME’s in a tough, globally competitive market.

If you could have tickets to see anyone in concert (who’s still alive), who would it be?
London Grammar, without question. For me, the most exciting band of the moment. Hannah Reid’s voice is pure beauty.


Simon Cahill

Company name:
New Design Group

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
‘Quiet Workstation’ – a personal workspace offering privacy and comfort. An extension of our successful ‘Quiet’ booth range, it allows clients to customise fabric combinations.

What is the favourite thing you have designed?
The ‘SW19 Chair’ – developed before Ryan became part of New Design Group. A refined, comfortable, high density stacking chair, adaptable to multiple applications – a nicely resolved product.

Are your customer expectations changing?
Customers are better informed and more knowledgeable, looking for well-designed competitively priced, quality products, backed up by great customer service. Customers appreciate that we are a British manufacturer and can offer solutions tailored to their requirements.

If you could have tickets to see anyone in concert (who’s still alive), who would it be? Glenn Kotche.


Tom Official 2017 1 170721_TF_SHOT 04_0336

Tom Faulkner

Company name: Tom Faulkner

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
I recently created the Golden Edge, which is made from raw steel and finished in 24 carat gold, combining an industrial silhouette with a luxurious finish.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
As I work predominately with metal, it is essential to have the technology to accurately cut any piece. For this reason, water cutting has been revolutionary in ensuring precision without the concern of distortion from higher heat options.

If you had to choose one of the following to have dinner with – Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn, Vladimir Putin or Angela Merkel – who would it be and why?
Although Donald Trump does seem the obvious choice, I admit, I would love the opportunity to form my own opinion of him without any media biases.

If you could have tickets to see anyone in concert (who’s still alive), who would it be?
Jerry Lee Lewis – he totally surpasses Elvis!


Tim Wallace

Tim Wallace

Company name: TWd

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
Memo for Herman Miller. We fundamentally redesigned the way bench structures work to remove unnecessary complexity. We also made some subtle changes that increase the potential to alternate between individual and collaborative work.

What is the favourite thing you have designed ?
That’s like asking which one of your children you love most! At a push, I’d have to say Abak Environments, as it’s easily the most successful product I’ve designed.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
There are a growing number of technology tools that inform us about the design we’re preparing. Be it rapid prototyping, finite element analysis, visualisation or a myriad of other new tools; anything that helps us to understand the design will always benefit an idea’s development.

Are customer expectations changing?
The requirements of office furniture are always changing – albeit subtly. Big changes only come along occasionally but I believe we’re now at the start of a substantial transformation. Mostly, this will come from the realisation that placing people in rows with no space to move is becoming less and less efficient.


Simon Legald

Company name: Simon Legald

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
Pine Tables, a small series of coffee/side tables. For me, the wood’s fiery growth rings and characteristic aroma represent Nordic soul and warmth. Not least, it makes a lot of sense to use a material that can be found locally in large quantities.

What is the favourite thing you have designed?
The Form Series for Normann Copenhagen. It was very interesting to work on, but also very long; it took over three years to get all the details correct – even though it looks quite simple, it is very complicated. I like things that can be simple in their expression, but in reality are more complicated than they look .

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
There are a lot of interesting materials in development – new ways of using materials, combining of materials. This is forcing people to think differently, and to try new ways to make products. It’s a bit like the car industry, where a few companies are doing electric cars and  pushing the rest to think in new ways.

If you could have tickets to see anyone in concert (who’s still alive), who would it be?
Blood Orange (Devonte Hynes) – if they ever decide to visit Denmark.


Ian Heseltine

Company name: Norbert Geelen Industrial Design

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
Hard to say, as I am contemporarily working on multiple projects all the time. The last product introduced to the market is Series 8600 ‘Lupino’ – a family of organic armchairs for Kusch+Co.

What is the favourite thing you have designed (not with current company)?
It’s always difficult to name a favourite design. I will go with the NoTable high end tables and desks I designed for ICF S.p.A.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
I started studying design in the late 80’s when computer/CAD was still regarded as a specialist skill by most. Almost all my work during that time was analogue. Skip ahead 30 years to today and I’d have a hard time to name any task in my work that isn’t related to, determined by or executed on a computer.

Are your customer expectations changing?
The only continuity is change, so of course customer expectations are changing too. They change over time, between jobs, between customers etc. Don’t assume anything, if in doubt – ask!

If you had to choose one who would you have dinner with: Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn, Vladimir Putin or Angela Merkel, and why?
I always wanted to know if he really eats his steak with ketchup, so – Donald Trump.


Joe-V1 (1)

Joe Armitage

Company name: Tala

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
We recently launched the Voronoi III, the world’s largest sculptural bulb, into our Design Collection.

What is the favourite thing you have designed?
A ‘Wigglu’ – a design that was a half wigwam, half igloo. It was a lamp that my Grandfather first prototyped in 1952.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
LED technology. Tala aims to accelerate the low carbon economy by: creating low energy products; offsetting carbon from manufacture with our tree planting scheme; creating long lasting products, which, at the same time, change the perspectives of light bulbs away from being disposable items; using recycled materials where possible.

If you could have tickets to see anyone in concert (who’s still alive), who would it be? Either Des The Tiny Child or Chic.


Samuel Chan

Company name: Joined + Jointed

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
A family of cabinets called Stele: six pieces with different functions but sharing the exact same, compact dimensions. Extensive utility within a small space.

What is the favourite thing you have designed?
Perhaps my Kerning series. A true expression of my design approach – visual purity achieved through complex, precise craft – and my respect for wood.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
Sure, web-based technologies get our products seen by a bigger audience. But if one understands technology historically, it’s the woodworking technologies in our workshop that define who we are as a company. We’re deliberately low-tech – none of our making is done by CNC – but it’s tech all the same.

Are your customer expectations changing?
Much of our work is bespoke. In the past, clients understood what a commission entails: that it takes time, and needs their input. Now, ironically, despite the growing interest in craft, people still want products immediately. They won’t wait on the process, so we design with that in mind.


Norbert Geelen Profile Picture

Norbert Geelen

Company name: Norbert Geelen Industrial Design

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
Hard to say, as I am contemporarily working on multiple projects all the time. The last product introduced to the market is Series 8600 ‘Lupino’ – a family of organic armchairs for Kusch+Co.

What is the favourite thing you have designed (not with current company)?
It’s always difficult to name a favourite design. I will go with the NoTable high end tables and desks I designed for ICF S.p.A.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
I started studying design in the late 80’s when computer/CAD was still regarded as a specialist skill by most. Almost all my work during that time was analogue. Skip ahead 30 years to today and I’d have a hard time to name any task in my work that isn’t related to, determined by or executed on a computer.

Are your customer expectations changing?
The only continuity is change, so of course customer expectations are changing too. They change over time, between jobs, between customers etc. Don’t assume anything, if in doubt – ask!

If you had to choose one who would you have dinner with: Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn, Vladimir Putin or Angela Merkel, and why?
I always wanted to know if he really eats his steak with ketchup, so – Donald Trump.


Sarah Parris

Company name: Colour and Form

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
Zig Zag Monochrome, a contract fabric digitally printed onto wool, a continuation of our collaboration with Camira.

What is the favourite thing you have designed?
Our textile called ‘Chance’, a flamboyant and intricate pattern. The design is full of rich colours that appear to be painted onto the fabric.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
Recent advances in digital textile printing have allowed us to achieve a fantastic colour range onto a variety of high quality fabrics such as velvets and even wool. These now meet the Martindale and lightfastness standards that contract demands.

Are your customer expectations changing?
Expectations for British made products have always been high. Our customers are savvy and expect more than just good quality, they are beginning to look for sustainable materials, manufacturing and packaging. The ethics and values of the business are becoming more and more important.

If you could have tickets to see anyone in concert (who’s still alive), who would it be?
The design selected to go to Hong Kong for the GREAT Festival of Innovation was inspired by a Kraftwerk track – Neon Lights – so to see them
live would be incredible.


Rainer Kalesse

Company name: RAINER KALESSE Design Management

What is the favourite thing you have designed?
A sculpture titled ‘The new dimension’. In just 48 days, starting with the planning, through the statics to the craftsmanship, this sculpture was designed and made. A lively networking of the products of a company with the life’s work of the main shareholder was established. Approximately 12 tonnes of steel and 30m cubed of concrete symbolise the development of a piece of furniture, from chipboard to the finished product. Two vertical surfaces stand for a wooden material, technology is illustrated by uneven holes, which are translucently illuminated in the dark, thereby symbolising the lightness of the material – on the front sides.

The two wall panels stand for the change of the two-dimensional chipboard to three-dimensional cabinet furniture. Through the rectangularity of the entire sculpture, which has been worked out in every detail, the archaic statement of the box furniture is again underlined.

The sculpture embodies durability and symbolises the unconditional belief in your own ideas and their enforcement properties – which apply exactly to the main shareholder.

Are your customer expectations changing?
Definitely! Finding out about the future requires vision and implementation into new products takes a lot of courage! Staging is everything! Today’s customers rely on flexibility and multifunctionality, especially with small rooms – living space is always expensive, and smaller, affordable rooms are in fashion. It is also important that heat and personality are reflected in our apartments. Light creates emotions – forms and structures provide autonomy. Material and feel are becoming increasingly important for the customer/end user.

If you had to choose one who would you have dinner with: Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn, Vladimir Putin or Angela Merkel, and why?
I would choose not a politician but a good designer. Dieter Rams (born May 20, 1932 in Wiesbaden) is a German industrial designer of the modern age. The aim of his designs is the clarity of form, material justice and ease of use. His name stands for good design. Dieter Rams had very important design principles.

If you could have tickets to see anyone in concert (who’s still alive), who would it be? Udo Lindenberg.


Stephen Johnson

Company name: Stephen Johnson Design

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
Our most recent product range is PLAY. It’s a collection of products that features a unique synthetic dough that we have developed.

What is the favourite thing you have designed?
This has to be our PLAY material. It’s been five years in development and the result is this wonderful dough that behaves just like kids Play-Dough but with incredible adhesive qualities – and sets hard like concrete. It frees us to design and make furniture and lighting intuitively, like kids.

Are your customer expectations changing?
I think the roll of creatives, especially designers, isn’t to just adapt to people’s changing expectations but to influence or steer them. So products shouldn’t just be reactive but also effecting in some way. Our PLAY collection, for example, offers a relatively unexpected approach to design and making.

If you had to choose one who would you have dinner with: Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn, Vladimir Putin or Angela Merkel, and why?
I’d choose my least favourite, out of curiosity. So probably Vladimir Putin. Although I’d be worried about him poisoning my soup!

If you could have tickets to see anyone in concert (who’s still alive), who would it be? Someone really embarrassing, like Cher or Justin Bieber.


Suzanne & Chris Carpenter

Company name: Patternistas

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
We’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with Newmor Wallcoverings. They strike the perfect balance; a family run company using traditional manufacturing techniques alongside cutting-edge technology, based in picturesque countryside but achieving international reach.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
The ability to create high definition, contract quality, digitally printed products, that are not restricted to minimum order quantities, opens up exciting opportunities for those of us on a mission to cover the world with pattern.

Are your customer expectations changing?
As boundaries between workplace and hospitality continue to blur, architects and designers are looking to create multifunctional spaces with individuality. The affordability and flexibility of digital print has increased custom orders. Some clients want to tweak colours or scale of existing ranges but others commission us to design bespoke patterns that link with their project in a very direct way.

If you had to choose one who would you have dinner with: Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn, Vladimir Putin or Angela Merkel, and why?
Angela Merkel – we’d be happy to raise a glass to a remarkably calm and powerful global leader who demonstrates the values of humanity, generosity and tolerance and is not afraid to stand up to tyranny.


peter portrait

Peter Thwaites

Company name: Rapture & Wright

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
A collaborative project and exhibition with the wonderful Arts & Crafts House at Standen, to produce a collection of fabrics, wallpapers, lighting and accessories to reflect the house, the Beale family, who commissioned and lived at the house, and the radical social philosophy of the Arts & Crafts.

What is the favourite thing you have designed?
A series of prototype lights for the exhibition at Standen.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
We are a company of two extremes. Our original designs and final print production methods are purposefully analogue – we are all about the hand of the maker. However, the digital technology that we use to turn our original designs into art work ready for printing is thoroughly modern. We find that the quality and flexibility offered by hand printing allows us a creative freedom unsurpassed by modern digital reproduction.

Are your customer expectations changing?
Our customers are becoming much more used to the idea of the bespoke and many of our fabrics are designed with this in mind. Our production process is geared to offering much more individual choice, with finished pieces unique to that particular customer.

If you had to choose one who would you have dinner with: Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn, Vladimir Putin or Angela Merkel, and why?
I would like to say Vladimir Putin but I think it would be deadly dull and I’m not a fan of atomic tea. Therefore, I would plump for Jeremy Corbyn. We would dine on prawn cocktail and Chicken Kiev. I would quiz him as to whether his attitude to design is as retro as his politics – avocado bathroom suites by government decree?

If you could have tickets to see anyone in concert (who’s still alive), who would it be? Savages.


Koray Malhan

Company name: Koleksiyon

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
Oblivion – designed as conical pods, creating semi-private meeting, presentation, relaxation, concentration, video conference etc spaces. The interior elements can be configured specifically for each customer.

What is the favourite thing you have designed?
İkaros – a seating series with winged worksurface extensions. The idea was to support social gatherings around a seating unit using the worksurface for tablets.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
SAP has revolutionised the way we gather data and understand our customers. This is only the beginning. Our insight will get deeper with investment in other technologies like our ‘Dealerzone’ customer portal. However, it comes down to sensible analysis of the data, which can easily turn into garbage as well.

Are your customer expectations changing?
This isn’t specific to our business at all, but the demand for variety, speed of action and dialogue is increasing, which is invaluable to our business. It is vital to construct healthy channels and to create constant dialogue with user groups, monitor the evolving needs and anticipate the emerging expectations.

If you had to choose one who would you have dinner with: Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn, Vladimir Putin or Angela Merkel, and why?
I am of an age where I really enjoy creative conversations. Seemingly, Angela has similar emotional intelligence, giving the best odds of a great dinner.

If you could have tickets to see anyone in concert (who’s still alive), who would it be?
Daniel Barenboim or Evgeny Kissin.


James Brown

Company name: Daro

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
The most recent is our Elgin woven range with a flat cane arm – and we’re currently working on the concept stage for the 2019 Outdoor Collection.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
The Internet has made working with the Indonesian factories a much easier process. Previously, we faxed over sketched designs, they would make technical detail amendments and fax back. Now we Skype, WhatsApp and Facetime, which is much quicker and the use of CAD delivers consistency and accuracy in design specifications.

Are your customer expectations changing?
As retail prices have increased, so have our consumers’ expectations. All our products are handmade and sometimes customers do not appreciate that every piece of furniture is unique – but it is understandable, from their perspective.

If you had to choose one who would you have dinner with: Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn, Vladimir Putin or Angela Merkel, and why?
I would have dinner with Angela Merkel, to ask her to explain their stealth economic invasion of other EU member states.

If you could have tickets to see anyone in concert (who’s still alive), who would it be?
That would have to be Coldplay – as I am still yet to see them live.


Images of Russell and Steve, founders of Innermost. London, 23 November 2016. © Lee Irvine, PelicanImages 2016

Russel Cameron & Steve Jones

Company name: Innermost Ltd

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
Panel is a flat format chandelier we designed that’s influenced by jewellery and architectural metal cladding. It combines high quality metallic finishes with new and simple forms.

What is the favourite thing you have designed?
RC: There are too many to choose from as we have been doing this for over 18 years! Certainly our latest collection is the strongest it’s ever been.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
SJ: The widespread adoption of LED has improved the lighting industry significantly. Lights are more efficient and last longer than ever. It’s opened up innovative design possibilities. A product like our new Kepler could not have been conceived without the latest LED developments. Bluetooth control in lighting is fast becoming the next game changer.

Are your customer expectations changing?
RC: Lighting has to be about quality and longevity. We live in a disposable society and we are trying to change that with our designs. The majority of our range comes with a three year guarantee and we almost always manage to repair or replace even after 10+ years.

If you had to choose one who would you have dinner with: Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn, Vladimir Putin or Angela Merkel, and why?
SJ: Donald Trump, has to be, just for the entertainment value.

If you could have tickets to see anyone in concert (who’s still alive), who would it be?
RC: Ned’s Atomic Dustbin – they just reformed and are touring with The Wonder Stuff!


Paul Lincoln

Company name: Hawk Furniture

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
Gianni A Frame meeting tables, offering both desk and poseur height meeting tables. Gianni is a simple and affordable response to increased demand from consumers moving to agile workspaces.

What is the favourite thing you have designed?
Evolution bench desk. Designing a bench screen strong enough to accept multiple monitors was a real personal achievement, especially back in the early days of benching, when nobody else had managed it. It has stood the test of time too, as a very popular range for Hawk.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
3D printing. Until around five years ago the obvious answer was – and still is – CAD, however investing in a 3D printer has sped up the prototyping process exponentially. Seeing and feeling something physical in front of you offers an advantage that you just don’t get by looking at a visualisation on a computer screen.

Are your customer expectations changing?
Price has always been a very important factor, however, over the last few years, consumers have realised this is often a false economy. Hawk has grown recently as more and more people realise that spending a little more to get a mid-range product pays for itself over the course of the product’s life.

If you could have tickets to see anyone in concert (who’s still alive), who would it be? Foo Fighters.


Ray Hills

Ray Hills

Company name: Ocee Design

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
The most recent collection I have worked on is Hilly. This modular seating collection has 22 modular pieces, with high back and low back options.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
The key for our design team is to strike a balance between new technology and traditional craftsmanship. We strive for an extremely high finish on our upholstery and feel that traditional techniques work best. Having worked in the furniture industry for 46 years, CAD and the ability to visualise product before prototype has transformed the product development process.

Are your customer expectations changing?
More of the projects we become involved with are now focused towards soft seating and breakout furniture, especially in the office and education sectors. This has evolved from the traditional desk and task seating offerings.

If you had to choose one who would you have dinner with: Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn, Vladimir Putin or Angela Merkel, and why?
If I had to choose, I would say Donald Trump – purely for the entertainment factor.


Alexandra Llewellyn

Company name: Alexandra Llewellyn London

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
We were able to collaborate with Milton H. Greene’s Archive and Iconic Images to create 10 limited-edition backgammon boards featuring previously unpublished photographs of the iconic screen legend, Marilyn Monroe. The box is of Macassar ebony and the artwork is black poplar inlaid with brass triangles, and then printed with the iconic photographs. This series of portraits was taken in September 1953 by Monroe’s friend, the celebrated photographer, Milton H. Greene. They feature the actress in a negligee, draped in fur, with a sparkling diamond bracelet on her wrist.

What is the favourite thing you have designed?
Skull Poker Set. Each limited edition set has the edition number engraved on the skull’s hand-cut gold tooth. The artwork is hand-drawn, then executed using marquetry made up of over 1,000 pieces of individually cut wood, using sycamore, walnut, oak, Masur birch and 4,000 year-old bog oak. The poker box houses 500 traditional clay poker chips that are gold stamped. The dealer button is of black marble, engraved and inlaid in brass, and the blind buttons are engraved mother-of-pearl discs.

Are your customer expectations changing?
I am very happy to notice clients are becoming more interested in the materials we use and that they understand the imperfections and nature of handmade natural products, as opposed to mass produced machine-made products.

If you could have tickets to see anyone in concert (who’s still alive), who would it be? Nick Cave.


Vicki Leach

Company name: Deadgood

What is the most recent product you have worked on?
The Scafell Modular Sofa – a customisable and playful sofa collection, which features bountiful curves and crisp seam detailing. We’re also looking at launching the Scafell ‘Cave’ this Spring. Watch this space.

What is the favourite thing you have designed?
Victoria Arms – a simple update of the 19th century ‘Smoker’s Bow’ armchair, made in solid ash and steel and featuring simplified lines and softened curves to fit in with any modern interior.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
The mobile phone. Deadgood has come a long way since its inception over 10 years ago. We’re now located in three different cities and communication is the biggest driver to progress. Additionally, having a conversation with a client or supplier over the phone is far more productive than emailing!

Are your customer expectations changing?
They’re changing because we’re learning new things every day and we’re asking more of ourselves to offer a better service. This can be anything from improving our website and displays, to creating mock-up renders and trend forecasting. We aim to improve by means of marginal gains.

If you could have tickets to see anyone in concert (who’s still alive), who would it be? Daft Punk – Glastonbury 2019.