John Jenkins

I met John through my work with Kirsty Whyte and it was a treat to meet a design hero that turned out to be a really nice bloke. John worked at Heals for many years, and played a key part in establishing the brands place as one of the design leaders on the highstreet.

If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
A rugby ball! I was a serious rugby boyo in my day and played for London Welsh.

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
I don't actually think that anyone can be totally in control of their path along the design way, but I genuinely feel it's how one responds to offered situations which gives them control.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I genuinely don't think that I design a product without always knowing for sure how it will be produced.

What product or event inspired you to be a designer/work in the design industry?
My father was a very practical man and was always making or fixing things. If you are a farmer in the middle of nowhere, then you have to be able to be practical, pragmatic and inventive!

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
The 'Plia' chair by Giancarlo Piretti for the company Castelli. It is the most elegant (and thinnest when folded) of folding chairs. It has been designed by someone who understands engineering and manufacturing techniques, yet is mindful of the fact that it has to look beautiful, be comfortable and be commercial. It ticks all of the boxes!