Skills Set

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This month’s Spotlight concentrates on the work of the product designer, both in-house and external. Once again we’ve compiled an exhaustive list of creative superstars, who reveal a few tricks of their invaluable trade.

James_van_Vossel_1_Credit_Alain_Six_lowJames Van Vosse

Side Table 1025

THE THING THAT GETS ON YOUR NERVES Being so close to a solution, but not seeing it yet.

WHAT DRIVES YOU I can’t make another chair, but I can make other pieces of furniture to sit on:) In previous years I discovered how difficult it is to tell this to producers, but I persisted. Designing means daring to make a statement, not confirming objects to be formed in the same way forever, because we are used to it. I also can’t see materials separated from their forms and like to explore opportunities of materials. I like to see limits and learning by doing.

WHAT YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED FOR For every creation! I start with my sketchbook, continue to making/testing/feeling real models scale 1/1 at my working place, because  ‘I just can’t sit on a drawing’.

Joohee LeeJoohee Lee
Herman Miller

MOST RECENT PRODUCT The Keyn Chair Group for Herman Miller, launched at Clerkenwell Design Week.

THE THING THAT GETS ON YOUR NERVES Follow up movies that ruin the original (such as Star Wars prequel trilogy)

THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR CAREER It’s hard to choose an individual but working with talented people who are super passionate about what they do definitely influenced me. And joining forpeople, which is full of inspiring people, was the best career move I ever made.

WHAT DRIVES YOU Having conversations with people in different fields and perspectives gives me new motivations and insights.


Carol_AppeltonCarol Appleton

MOST RECENT PRODUCT Legend Ecotrust – sustainable carpet design by ege.

The Legend collection brings the layered, organic textures of the forest floor into the commercial interior. Legend is a contemporary interpretation of folklore and the enchanted wood. Its rich multi-level loop texture, inspired by tree bark, lies under a blanket of simple organic pattern. Tiles and broadloom options offer many practical possibilities for coordination and combination to create zones and focal areas. The palette is organised into three coordinated tonal groups to give many possible colour combinations. Legend is available in 48×48 cm carpet tiles, 96×96 cm carpet tiles and as broadloom (designed by Carol Appleton).

The Ecotrust felt backings are produced from recycled water bottles. An innovative production technique turns bottles into a soft yet strong PET felt material that is long lasting and has great acoustic performance. At ege carpets we use Aquafil’s Econyl yarns, among others, produced from used fishing nets. Once the fishing nets are collected and cleaned, they are physically and chemically broken down and reborn as strong and hardwearing yarns for carpets.

THE THING THAT GETS ON YOUR NERVES Poor mentoring/nurturing of design students in our educational system.

THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR CAREER Connecting with creative and energetic people. For me, collaboration with other designers has always amplified the whole experience of the design process. You learn and grow into a better designer each time.

WHAT DRIVES YOU Telling stories with design and colour. I think the final product is richer in good design, when it comes from research, experiment and refinement of a great story.

WHAT YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED FOR Creating products which worked, in every respect, the aesthetics, performance, the price point. I would like to be remembered as a designer who understood the context and delivered a great solution.

Marc_Krusin1Marc Krusin

MOST RECENT PRODUCT Krusin Collection 016


WHAT DRIVES YOU Rather than a burning desire to prove myself, now my passion is simply when there is a chance to work with great people and create a great project. It’s not about me anymore and what people can do for me, but what I can do for others. The most incredible thing
has been getting my ego out of the way and letting each project develop itself in the purest, noblest and most successful of ways – honest, ego-less design!

Chris Raby

MOST RECENT PRODUCT Ferro Raw furniture.

MOST RECENT PROJECT  hs2 offices. 


INSIDE WORK: In the workplace it’s when people are limited by their fear of failure, this is something I always avoid – my motto is if it feels right, just do it. What’s the worst that can happen? If it’s wrong – do it again until its right.  never be restricted by self-doubt.

OUTSIDE WORK: I get really annoyed when the local pub is closed.

REGIONAL FOCUS: RECENT DEVELOPMENT It has to be ferro – our new raw-look organic furniture – I have really enjoyed working on this project. The brief was simple – do something that is not flexiform, but is also, typically flexiform! So, back to the drawing board…literally.  I dug out the old layout pads and sketched away! Ferro is all about acknowledging what we are – manufacturers of really good quality office furniture out of raw materials. So with exposed welding, clear lacquered finishes and textured worktops we achieved just that. This really was a labour of love for the engineering department. We actually made the product ourselves – a true back to floor experiment for us all. To be honest we really enjoyed getting back out there; welding, folding, grinding and sawing – getting involved with the raw materials – it was great fun.

BIGGEST INFLUENCES Back to school holidays, spent on construction sites with my father (a building engineer), appreciating the stages involved in large scale commercial buildings from architects drawings, groundworks, steelworks and onwards. I learned to appreciate all the elements of a project must work together to make it successful. Good design only works with good engineering and good understanding. Every element must be considered, the smallest detail can influence how a product looks and functions and how it is made.

DorotheDorothé Kessels

THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR CAREER I have always been fascinated by colour and enjoy drawing, but I also like the natural outdoor environment very much. So I thought about what I could do to combine my passions. I first travelled to London and Paris to see various design influences at work there – it was a fantastic time for me, travelling and designing. Travel is a great source of inspiration for me – you see many different designs in architecture, art and fashion, such as unexpected colour combinations or unusual shapes. The cultural differences in behaviour and the way people think also makes you see your own world from another perspective.

Katerina McMahonKaterina_Morgan01

MOST RECENT PRODUCT The Manhattan Nap Booth, launch date may 2016. Research has shown that our working environment is bad for our health when we spend many hours sitting at a desk. Variety of posture is the key, including a reclined position and ideally a 15 min nap in the middle of the day. This is what the nap booth offers, with an ergonomically designed ‘seat’ and privacy fretwork screens.

THE THING THAT MOST GETS ON YOUR NERVES Attitude. The suggestion that you have nothing to improve on.

WHAT DRIVES YOU A constant self-criticism and a strong work ethic. I often have ideas at four in the morning – as a designer you never leave your work.

I AM INFLUENCED by contemporary art and design, and I believe in ‘less is more’. The best designs often have a clear simple message and form.

I GUESS I MIGHT BE REMEMBERED for some good chairs – but would also like to be remembered as a good mentor to my team at Morgan.

Magnus LongHitch Mylius
Magnus Long

MOST RECENT PRODUCT Hitch Mylius hm106 Quiet Collection, which was recently awarded the Design Guild Mark – and a new product range soon to be launched.

THE THING THAT GETS ON YOUR NERVES I don’t like waiting for product samples to be made.

WHAT DRIVES YOU  The whole design process is a buzz, especially when it’s for a dedicated client. There’s usually a wait in the middle whilst designs are being sampled and manufactured, but then there’s a huge sense of satisfaction at the other end, seeing that design in someone’s home or as part of an interiors project.

WHAT YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED FOR  To be known and remembered for creating designs for British furniture brands which don’t fall out of fashion and are relevant in many years to come, would be really fine.

Jason smaller01Jason Holmes

RECENT PRODUCTS I’ve worked on the Flotex Linear range. Linear is on trend and lends itself to flooring really well.

THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE IN MY CAREER I get my inspiration from everywhere: magazines, media, trade shows and even exhibitions. However, the best ideas often happen when I am travelling. I have visited NeoCon in Chicago, North America’s largest design trade fair and conference for commercial interiors, numerous times and it never fails to inspire me. It is a great chance to meet and exchange ideas with other designers and to see all the latest interior products and finishes.

Manisha Selhi Milliken (3)Mannish Selhi

MOST RECENT PRODUCT New design and re-colouration for ‘Out of the Shadows’ collection.

WHAT IS THE THING THAT MOST GETS ON YOUR NERVES?  Running late and being stuck behind a painfully slow driver.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR CAREER? Abstract imagery and striking colour palettes in artwork. I love working with colour and I am fascinated by pushing the boundaries so that beautiful colour combinations make a strong statement. My passion for colour started with studying the works of Monet, Manet and Cezanne at school.

WHAT DRIVES YOU I’m a little bit of a perfectionist and I take pride in knowing I’ve done a job well both in my personal and professional life. It does drive my husband a bit crazy though!

Kevin Thompson_PhotoKevin Thompson
Godfrey Syrett

MOST RECENT PRODUCT I’ve recently been working on things like Mr Jones, our award-winning soft seating range, the Layz range and the Jude two-seater sofa.

WHAT GETS ON YOUR NERVES The fact that there are only 24 hours in a day!

THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR CAREER During my first year at university, Yrjö Kukkapuro was a visiting lecturer on my course. He was a massive inspiration and the influence that pushed me towards furniture design.

WHAT DRIVES YOU I like the whole creative process, and designing things that people can use. I enjoy the team effort that goes into making a concept a reality. Once something goes from design into production, everyone feeds into the process, and the end result is a beautiful piece
of furniture. 

imageLydia Addison
edge design / Pledge

WHAT YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED FOR Being a good designer. Creating successful and eye catching designs that consider the whole design process from individual component design to efficiency of assembly.

MOST RECENT PRODUCT YOU WORKED ON Me, Myself & I with edge design.

THE THING THAT GETS ON YOUR NERVES Drivers that forget they have indicators…especially at roundabouts! 

WHAT DRIVES YOU The challenge to rethink and observe how we evolve and interact with our environment will always inspire me. With fashion/trends having an impact on one side and technology on the other, plus the growing convenience to have a fusion of them both, provides a fast-paced and exciting industry to be a part of.

Edo Rem01Edo Rem

MOST RECENT PRODUCT The latest collection I have been working on at Forbo Flooring Systems is the Synergy collection. This collection has been specifically designed for the office segment. It offers a seamless transition across carpet tiles and luxury vinyl tiles – two different products with a common design direction, in modular formats and with the same quick and cost effective installation method.

WHAT DRIVES YOU I really like to work in an environment where creative and innovative solutions are born. Over the last few years, Forbo has continued to invest in its carpet tile collections and the textile design and product management team have certainly delivered a versatility of design, construction and formats across the Tessera and Westbond brands, which consistently reflect office trends.

Mike Kildare_Photo 2Michael Kildare
Godfrey Syrett

MOST RECENT PRODUCT Currently, I’m working on revamping our storage range to make it into an all-round more flexible and cohesive offer.

WHAT GETS ON YOUR NERVES Turning right out of junctions.

BIGGEST INFLUENCE IN YOUR CAREER I’m massively influenced by other designers; people like Frank Lloyd Wright, Dieter Rams, and Jacob Jensen – I love his work for Bang & Olufsen.

WHAT DRIVES YOU For me, the biggest buzz is seeing a product I’ve designed go through the manufacturing process and coming out as an actual, physical thing. Working for a manufacturer means that you’re exposed to the whole process; from design conception to customer feedback. 

WHAT YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED FOR I want my creations to be remembered – design immortality is the dream!

IMG_3442_RGBHayley Barrett

RECENT PRODUCTS Camira’s wool blend fabric synergy, available in 75 colourways.

THE THING THAT GETS ON YOUR NERVES Having notebooks full of ideas and not enough time to explore them all.

THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE IN YOU CAREER Designing high end apparel fabric for Samuel Tweed earlier in my career taught me valuable lessons which I use to this day. The importance of interpreting colour and trend information correctly, the principles of range building and creating families of fabrics that fit cohesively together, but do different jobs. The hands-on designing – the cloths were hard to simulate on CAD so best designed away from the computer with yarns strings, point paper and imagination, and making alterations at the loom.

WHAT DRIVES YOU My colleagues at Camira. Sitting within product development is like being a page in the book of ‘everything you ever needed to know about textiles – and some more’. We are a wonderful mix of age groups and expertise. Scientists, chemists and designers all collaborate together. Just within our department we have over 400 years of collective textile knowledge, so if I have a question, I just take a walk from my desk or pick up the phone.

WHAT YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED FOR  I’d be flattered if it were for my contribution to how we use trend and colour information. at Camira, we don’t subscribe to one particular authority. We cast our net very widely, inspiration can be taken from a trade show or something see on television the night before. Wherever inspiration is found, it’s brought back to our trend wall, like bees returning to the hive with pollen, which in turn fuels the next evolution of trends.

Bailey NinaNina Bailey

RECENT PROJECT A dramatic floor layout to launch the new Essentials collection in Desso’s showroom.

WHAT DRIVES YOU I am enthusiastic about eco-friendly and recycled products/materials and wherever possible try to use products with high recyclable content in my proposals. It’s great working with clients who are interested in using environmentally friendly floor coverings. 

WHAT YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED FOR I love working for Desso because of the importance they place on sustainability and the products actually inspire me to create cutting edge flooring proposals. Similarly, I like my designs to be appreciated and noted for being functional, appropriately beautiful and…good for the planet.

WHAT GETS ON MY NERVES Sadly, many manufacturers within the commercial sector are not concerned with how some processes can be detrimental to the environment.

mirtoMirto Antonel

recent product/project I’ve been working at with the Alea team, is a new furniture and desks system collection. The name of the product is Ibis and we are now developing the catalogue.

The name, as every single line creates a shape, is never random, and always reflects a meaning which always connects to other meanings.

‘Less is more’, phrase of the genius Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, used this principle as the basis for the new architecture. An architecture which no longer looked at ostentation and complexity of the result as the goal to achieve, but provoking a new way to create, able to generate buildings and objects made of essential and flawless shapes designed to identify the function. Thanks to cutting edge technologies, it’s now possible to realise very complex manufacturing with sustainable costs, using light and resistant structures and elegant shapes. This is Ibis.

Thing that gets on YOUR nerves Fast development drags into chaos that often translates in superficiality.

The biggest influence in YOUR career  Humans do essentially three things: thinking, living emotions and acting. This explains why we are fascinated by objects, they unleash emotions. But industrial design goes beyond pure beauty, it is also has meaning and to obtain it requires responsibility, skill, people, ideas and team work. The input for a new design can be provoked by client’s needs, structural issues, sometimes it develops from an apparently banal sketch. Either way the result has to cause an emotion.

Wolfgang C.R. Mezger - BrunnerWolfgang  C.R. Mezger

MOST RECENT PRODUCT I work together with my collaborators right now on more than 15 very exciting projects for several companies, including table systems,  chairs, conference chairs, waiting programs etc.

THE THING THAT GETS ON YOUR NERVES Nearly nothing…ok, sometimes when I think deep philosophical…that time is running too fast.

WHAT DRIVES YOU Design is my endeavour to make people happy. Because happy people stand for freedom, peace and culture. This is my contribution for a better world in the future. The other thing is, it makes a lot of fun to make design…the best profession for using head and hands.

WHAT YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED FOR First of all I wish that our daughter thinks always she has the best daddy in the world. Otherwise, of course, that my products become heirlooms so that they have a very long product life and make several generations happy.

Forbo01Merantine Paree

RECENT PRODUCTS One project of mine has been the marmoleum modular range – a new concept in linoleum tiles and planks.

THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE IN YOUR CAREER Living in Amsterdam, I have an endless source of art right around the corner. I have visited Salone del Mobile in Milan in the past and although it can be a little overwhelming, there is so much to see and experience – it is always a very inspiring week for me. My challenge now is always to translate all the inspiration into new ideas.

WHAT DRIVES YOU I find great pleasure in creating an experience that tickles the imagination of the audience.

Justus Kolberg01Justus Kolberg


WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE IN YOUR CAREER? When I saw my professor Dieter Zimmer sitting on the Vertebra task chair from Giancarlo Piretti in 1985. This chair was, for its time, so forward-looking, that I felt designing task chairs is what I really would like to do.

WHAT DRIVES YOU Every new design is a part of the future. This idea nourishes my passion.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED FOR As an open minded development partner with a strong own design vision.

Bolon_PetraLundblad01Petra Lundblad

MOST RECENT PRODUCT The most recent product I’ve worked on is Bolon by You, which offers designers and architects the chance to create flooring that truly reflects the requirements of their projects – both aesthetic and functional. Through our web tool, users can select a pattern, play with the two design components, weft and weave, save their designs and create a moodboard which can be used together with the other elements of their project. As its name suggests, Bolon By You is all about you – the person designing. We have created a series of new patterns we believe represent aesthetic variation and by using these, personal results can be achieved. What we hope to create is a situation where architects and designers can realise their visions with Bolon flooring as a dynamic, central design element.’

THINGS THAT GETS ON YOUR NERVES The thing that gets on my nerves is when people throw away stuff – I love collecting things.

THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE IN YOUR CAREER My print teacher at Central Saint Martins was the biggest influence in my career – he made me realise you can go your own way and be successful.

WHAT DRIVES YOU Curiosity – I love to explore, experiment and try out new things. I’m stubborn and very driven and can sometimes go the extra mile just to prove people wrong. I love the feeling when you worked with something really hard and you see the results and think, shit, this really works. It’s a very satisfying feeling seeing my visions and ideas come to life and very rewarding.

Thonet_Design_Team_Miriam_PuettnerMiriam püttner


THE THING THAT GETS ON YOUR NERVES I am getting on my own nerves, when I try again to escape from making decisions.

WHAT DRIVES ME Is it even possible to find the right words for it? I think it’s in the nature of human beings to create things and to gain expression – especially for the creative folks. Suddenly there are fleeting thoughts, some ideas in mind you directly want to bring to life. Whether it is a drawing, an object, a form, a new project… it literally attracts me to try those ideas. And it is a happy feeling when you finally succeeded to transform something imaginary into materiality and it is suddenly real in front of you. That is kind of a magic moment!