At Milan Design Week, the British designer tells us about the Unos chair, his first collaboration with Spanish furniture company Andreu World.
What has it been like collaborating with Andreu World?
Impressive. They are specialists when it comes to wooden products, particularly wooden chairs. And when you work with a company that has so much knowledge, you can do things that you couldn’t do with another company. They know the best way to put the wood together to make a chair. And because they know what they are doing, they make the wood thinner than they would at another company. You get a more lightweight, a stronger, a more interesting product.
Tell us about the Unos chair, your first product for the brand.
I was inspired by what they can do, that’s how the design started. Then more than a year ago we had the design, but still we needed all this time to develop it. So it’s quite a seriously thought out chair. As we went along, the idea grew to make the most modern, the most perfectly manufactured chair for the mass market. That means having a lot of different offerings. So we have a non-stacking and stacking version, and options of armrests for both of them. Also, options of seat cushions, and options of a fully upholstered seat and back. And it’s all worked out such that you can change the seat if it wears out without changing the whole chair. So it’s a very serious offer for the contract market… We wanted to do a really state-of-the-art wooden chair.
Can you describe the similarities between Andreu World’s design values and your own?
I think they are not overly decorative. And I think they appreciate simple lines and good proportions, the same as I do. After that, it’s always interesting how the chemistry develops between the company and the designer.
What do you see as the role of the designer today, in a market that is filled with so many products? There are, for example, already so many options when it comes to chair designs.
I think it’s always to make a state-of-the-art chair, a better chair, in terms of comfort, in terms of durability, in terms of looks, and in terms of the flexibility of the range. So if you put that chair together with, let’s say, last year’s models, I think it would perform pretty well. And if you go back ten years, there’s a world of difference. The technology is always developing and so too the design.