During my career I have been fortunate to work with a wide range of talented individuals from a variety of different backgrounds and industry, who have helped and shared my journey. Some of them are well known names, others are up and coming and destined to be well known in the future. I have always found the creative process fascinating, especially as everyone I have worked with does it slightly differently, and to help try to understand and maniplate the process more, I asked each one a series of questions and the results can be seen below. Click the names to jump to a particular person.

Terence Woodgate
Daniel Schofield
Dan Ziglam
John Jenkins
Daniel Heath
Tim Fenby
James Patmore
Sam Lloyd
Alex Dreyer
Adam Daghorn
Sam Aylott TBC
Lisa Sandall
Lodovico Bernardi
Lucio Longoni
Rona Meyuchas Koblenz
Peter Ting
Nick Kemp
Claire Norcross
Johanna Schmidt
Katie Treggiden
TBC
Sophie Ralli
Duncan Bull

Adam Daghorn

Adam Daghorn - Furniture Designer - Next - Marks & Spencer - Antropologie

Adam joined the M&S team in early 2014 as Lead Furniture designer, and since then we have worked on a number of best selling Cabinet and Upholstery ranges.

Previously from NEXT, he combined that commerciality with M&S phenomenal supply base, to help produce a number of core collections such as BURCHILL and JAKOB that have gone on to become key parts of the collection.

Website - adamdaghorn.com

If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
Grappling gun... I love problem solving, and with a grappling gun you can scale any obstacle

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
I'd like to think that I made my career happen. If I get to a point in my career where I don't feel I'm developing as a designer I move on.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I talk through my sketch work. There's no language barrier with a drawing.

What product or event inspired you to be a designer?
Lego. My childhood was spent building anything and everything I could imagine in Lego. It helped me develop a three dimensional mindset from an early age and an understanding of form and function.

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
The Eames Lounge Chair. Since its launch it has been in continuous production. It was released in the 50's and is still just as iconic and just as recognisable as the day it launched.

 


Sam Aylott

Sam Aylott - Furniture Designer - LuxDeco - David Linley

I worked with Sam whilst consulting with Luxdeco, a very talented designer focussed on the high-end and luxury market.

Website - Instagram

If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
A pedal bike, im obsessed with getting out, getting fresh air and challenging myself. For me it combines my love of engineering with fitness and pushing myself physically.

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
Very controlled in a way, I studied furniture design and now design furniture. However the places I've worked and experience I have got has been part skill part luck, lucky of vacancies whilst looking but skill that I got the jobs. There were definite cross-roads where other role opportunities would have transformed what I would be doing day to day.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
Not necessarily different, but something I'm proud of is my combination of form and function. In earlier education I was fixated on becoming a fine artist, where everything is about appealing the emotive senses. Naturally I'm a very practical and hands on guy, with a love for engineering and mechanics (hence cycling). This combination allows me to consider construction and form simultaneously and not fight one with the other. However I must admit at times I have to switch off the practical side during the early design stages to avoid the obvious.

What product or event inspired you to be a designer/work in the design industry?
During my foundation degree, I wanted to be a sculptor but wanted to combine it with function and usefulness.

If you could become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
A difficult choice as we are surrounded by incredible design without even realising. However the Eames lounge chair un-originally springs to mind. Its an beautiful, its luxurious, its an icon.

If you could go back in time and speak to your adolescent self, what advice would you give them about the design world?
Sketch, sketch and sketch, being able to communicate your ideas to the best possible level is crucial to giving them the limelight they deserve. If after that they fail, your ideas will develop with experience. Keep leaving your comfort zone, this is when the magic happens.

  


Ben Fowler

Ben Fowler - Furniture Designer - Brighton

Ben Fowler is one of the most highly respected furniture designers in the UK. In an age of designers using only use iPads and computer renderings, it was refreshing to work with someone who creates amazing work using just pen and paper. Going to his workshop was always a treat to see his new developments, and also to meet his team of apprentices who will go on to be the next generation of award winning designers.

Ben designed the SONOMA range for M&S and recently won a design guild mark for his HAT TREE. 

Website - fowlerco.co.uk

If they were to make an action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
A '2 B' pencil please


To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
I always do what I like best, so to a fair degree, it is all my own fault.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
Life drawing

What product or event inspired you to be a designer?
The Cutty Sark

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing product, what would you choose?
The Moulton Bicycle: beautiful radical and right.

 


Rona Meyuchas Koblenz

Rona Meyuchas Koblenz - Designer

Founded by Israeli/British designer Rona Meyuchas Koblenz. Rona began her extensive career in Milan, after graduating with a Masters in Industrial Design, from SPD in Milan in 1999.

Website - kukka.co.uk

If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
Definitely wings! So I guess I could be a fairy or a fly

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
I think I was too young and not experienced enough to understand the consequences of my decisions. My intuition was always stronger than an actual plan and this was always the way for me to go.

At the end of the day I am happy from all the decisions I made, for good and for bad, it was and it's still part of a long learning curve.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I think differently than most people. Most people think differently

What product or event inspired you to be a designer/work in the design industry?
Building my dad's garden shed, fixing the white goods at home since I was little, breaking stuff and then being in trouble and try to fix them, playing with my young brothers

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
A Paper clip


Daniel Heath

Daniel Heath - Money For Nothing - BBC - Designer

I met Daniel through my work with Kirsty Whyte, and he has gone on to become a celebrity having appeared on BBC 1's MONEY FOR NOTHING, using his design skills to create new products from the vintage and damaged items given to him.

Website - danielheath.co.uk

If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
A screen printing squeegee. Print is where I started and will always be a part of what I do.

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
My design life has evolved as opportunities have come along, but I do think I have more control over what I do now, and I try to stick to doing things that interest and challenge me. Sometimes something will come along that changes your design perspective, or allows you to work in a way you never imagined you would, so it's good not to be too rigid.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I make presents for people. Family and friends usually get something handmade for weddings, birthdays and Christmas. Because I make most of my products in my studio, I can easily make something bespoke for a loved one. I'm the go-to man in the family for helping style a wedding.

What product or event inspired you to be a designer?
When I was at university, Jurgen Bey came and did a lecture about design and inspiration. He talked about how they thought around an idea at Droog. I discovered that design is about narrative and storytelling as much as it is about problem solving. His talk also taught me that designers need to be versatile.

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
A timeless classic. Probably a chair. Most likely the Wishbone Chair by Hans J Wegner.


James Patmore 

James Patmore - Furniture Designer - Marks & Spencer - Habitat

I met James during my time at Habitat when we looked at introducing a mass market version of his Armadillo Dressing Table, and I have seen his design career go from strength to strength with him producing work for many high street brands and his own label.

"Coming from a mixed cultural background and being born in London, England. I have always been exposed to cultures, traditions and people from all over the world. I believe that these experiences subliminally feed a designer’s/artist’s creativity and directly influences their work. By forming James Patmore Studio I want to produce a collection of objects as well as visual works that reflect this cultural hub that we have in London. Building on the experience I have gained from working at studios such as Tom Dixon and Rolf Sachs I feel that creating, producing and manufacturing objects that have been envisaged locally, not only celebrates British manufacturing but also Britain’s cultural diversity."

Website - jamespatmore.com

If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
A retractable grappling hook, I love climbing.

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
I have a desire to learn as much as I can whilst grasping for new life experiences. Conciously positioning myself in roles that challenge me as a designer, leader and colleague. So when the time comes, the transition of building my own studio can be a well informed one.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I tend to do most of my idea development through sketching and model making. I do have a habit of listening to 90's Hip-hop and RnB whilst CAD'ing up ideas in SolidWorks. I find it allows me to focus on the process, so I can get it done quickly and out of the way.

What product or event inspired you to be a designer?
Growing up with creative parents I've been drawing and building things from scrap wood since I was 3. But the realisation that it could be a profession came whist talking with my tutors after my final Uni crit, they said "Why not?".

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
Jean Prouvé's Potence Wall Lamp, it's simplicity and elegance in its function is something I try to convey in my own work.


John Jenkins

John Jenkins - Furniture Designer - Heals

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!

 


Katie Treggiden

Katie Treggiden - Confessions of a Design Geek - Design Writer

CONFESSIONS OF A DESIGN GEEK is an award-winning blog established in 2010 by Katie Treggiden to discover, champion and inspire new designers. It has been named as a top design blog by Dwell US, Elle Decor Italia and The Sunday Times. Katie also writes for Dezeen, Design Milk, Telegraph and Ideal Home.

I have been an avid reader of Katies blog since since it launched, and I met Katie via my work with Kirsty Whyte.

Website - katietreggiden.com

If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
Ha ha - what a terrifying thought! Can I have a few accessories? The ultimate action blogger would need: a MacBook Air, a Moleskine diary, a Staedtler HB pencil with a rubber on the end, an iPhone and a dSLR.

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
I have wanted to be a writer since I was five years old, but it wasn't until I discovered my passion for design that I found my muse. Like most people I spent the first couple of years of my career saying yes to everything in order to get experience. Once I had established myself, I decided exactly what I wanted to do and have pursued that with a laser-like focus ever since!

What’s something you know you do differently to most people?
There are people who work to live and there are people who live to work - I'm definitely in the latter category. I really believe that the work I'm doing now in discovering and championing new designers is my life's work, so I am absolutely committed to getting it right. While that's probably different to most people, I'm lucky enough to have a found a tribe of people in the design industry who feel the same way about their work and they mean the world to me.

What product or event inspired you to to get involved with the design world?
I went to an exhibition at the V&A called Modernism: Designing A New World in 2006 and it opened my eyes to design as a tool to make the world a better place. I was hooked from that moment and haven't looked back since.

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
That's a really difficult question! Perhaps Charles and Ray Eames' leg splint? A wonderful example of good design in so many ways.

 


Daniel Schofield

Daniel Schofield - Furniture Designer

I first saw Daniels work at Birmingham Interiors in 2013, and it stood out massively compared to the other graduate work we saw, due to its finesse, sophistication and that extra level of thought that designers need to apply to set them apart from their peers. Since then he has gone on to design pieces for Skandium and is well on his way to becoming one the key designers of his generation.

Website - danielschofield.co.uk

If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
Japanese pull saw. I always enjoy using it when I get the chance.

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
Not at all really, or at least not consciously. I started on my own because the job offers I was getting after University were all unpaid which I couldn't afford to do. But fortunately the University allowed me to carry on using the workshops for a year. So I've just been going with the flow and trying to learn as much as possible along the way.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
When I come up with a design I like I usually draw it over and over again, I don't really know why, I think it just helps me understand it and think about the details more.

What product or event inspired you to be a designer?
Before University I was doing a carpentry apprenticeship, working on houses and offices etc. A family friend offered to teach me wood turning as he knew I liked making things, from there I knew I wanted to do something more creative and it naturally led me to design.

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
This answer could change on a daily basis.... today though its Autoprogettazione by Enzo Mari - Beautifully simple in concept and realisation.


Peter Ting

Peter Ting - Ceramics Designer

While living in China (when working for MADE) I was fortunate to win tickets to TEDX, which took place in Shanghai in 2012. It was an excellent day, with one of the stand out highlights being the presentation by Peter Ting, an award winning Ceramics Designer.

Website - Peterting.com

If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
It would be a 'Fu Chen' (horse tail whisk)

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
I believe that the act of choosing to leave one job to go to another is as much control as I have ever taken.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I eat the whole apple core; pips and all (except the stalk)

What product or event inspired you to be a designer?
A display of porcelain in a relatives house in HK I was about 8. The best bit was that he had blue and white in the summer and changed it all to ox blood red for the winter. I always thought that was so chic.

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
The wheel. It was a game changer right from the beginning. ( funny! as a potter I chose an object that could be interpreted as another thing, the throwing wheel)


Terence Woodgate

Terence Woodgate - Designer - SCP

Terence is one of the worlds top Industrial designers and has produced a number of iconic designs for SCP, PUNT and ESTABLISHED & SONS, and I was fortunate to work with him on the INFLUENCE range for Habitat.

INFLUENCE had already been a best selling shelving range, and part of the strategy to grow the family and increase sales was to add in various storage elements. It was one of the first products I developed in my career, and I was fortunate to work with someone of the calibre of Terence who took the time to help guide me through the process. INFLUENCE is still a range and learning experience I am very proud of, and one that is the cornerstone of my career.

Website - terrencewoodgate.com

If they were to make an action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
Wings.

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
None, my design life has actually controlled me.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
Better to ask them

What product or event inspired you to be a designer?
Exhibition on the Bauhaus in Amsterdam in 80's.

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
The wheel. That would have impressed. Think of the royalties!

 


Dan Ziglam

Dan Ziglam - Deadgood - Furniture

I met Dan through my work with James Harrison, and I am a big fan of the DEADGOOD brand that he and Elliot Brook have created. They work with a number of up and coming, and also established names to create iconic pieces that are becoming more common place in hotels and restaurants.

Website - Deadgoodltd.com

If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
During my childhood I used to love playing with my brothers He-Man figures, It would be great to have my own version of the Battle Cat. Handy for getting around Town on!

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
I have never really had a ‘proper’ design job and have been fortunate enough to have retained control of my design work ever since those early days at Art College. After graduating from University I set up deadgood pretty much straight away and have been at the helm plotting the course ever since.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
That’s a tough one as you don't really know what people get up to behind closed doors, Recently I have been very conscious about the media I consume. The TV and Internet like the human body make for an excellent servant but terrible master. With that in mind I try and read at least 10 pages of a life changing/inspirational book everyday and limit any Television watching to factual or educational programmes, Most of the time :)

What product or event inspired you to be a designer/work in the design industry?
It was more a person. When I was at Art college I was leaning towards taking a degree in Fine Art or Graphic design, My tutor saw potential in my 3-Dimensional design work and encouraged me to pursue this angle. Unfortunately our paths have never crossed since and I haven't ever had the chance to thanks him for his sound advice, So Julien if your out there somewhere, Big Thanks!

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
Mikhail Kalashnikov, I would make sure I made a proper bodge job of his design’s making them useless and redundant.

 


Tim Fenby

Tim Fenby - Furniture Designer

Tim Fenby is an award winning furniture designer. He formed TFD in 2006 after several years heading up design for some of the leading brands in the UK furniture industry.

I first worked with Tim during my time at MADE. The company was in its infancy, but Tim had started to see the early momentum and took a chance on the new brand and arranged to visit the office. Tim has produced a number of upholstery and cabinet pieces for MADE.

Website - timfenbydesign.com

If they were to make an action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
A jet powered mountain bike !

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
My early career with Ducal and Silentnight Furniture brands provided me with invaluable experience. Managing large projects with internal and external designers and factories around the world . In turn this fast learning curve in the early years of designing has given me the knowledge and confidence to shape my own design career running my own design business.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I always start by thinking about what the end user expects and desires from the furniture I create.

What product or event inspired you to be a designer?
Working at my families Interiors shop as a teenager.

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
I have always loved the organic form of the ‘egg chair’ by Arne Jacobsen.

 


Sam Lloyd

Sam Lloyd - Furniture Designer - Twin

I met Sam at NEW DESIGNERS where he was showing his SAND CAST STOOLS which are now available to buy from HEALS.

Website - sam-lloyd.co.uk

If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
My twin brother, that way customers would get 2 for the price of 1.

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
Quite a bit I think. The products I've launched so far were designed and developed during my third year at Kingston so I had a lot of control over the outcome. I feel fortunate that Heal's have picked them up and I'm glad they look virtually the same, even with the developed tooling.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
Sometimes I spent too long working on the finish of something, particularly in the sanding stage. It's not a problem with prototypes but if it's something I'm making more than one of its tricky getting the timing right. One of the problems with being a perfectionist, I have got better in the last 12 months though!

What product or event inspired you to be a designer?
My dad was an architect and a sight manager and I used to go to work with him a lot when I was younger. That and playing with Lego.

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
Probably the pencil. It's the tool that designers have drawn up every single idea with.

 


Alex Dreyer

Alex Dreyer - Furniture Designer

I met Alex while working at Habitat where he was one of the lead designers and created a number of iconic products. Since then he went on to found CIRCULAR in 2009. Having previously headed the Shanghai design center for British retailer Habitat, he decided it was time to put his design, retail and sourcing expertise to good use and offer consultancy services to other brands doing business in Asia.

If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
A Chinese electric mosquito racket! In case you are not familiar with them - they look like plastic toy-versions of a tennis racket, except they have metal wire in the place of strings and a battery in the handle. They are very handy around the house for zapping bugs, and would make a great weapon for a toy action figure. A friend of mine once stuck his finger into one - let's just say he isn't likely to do it again!

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
If you had told me during my university years that I would be recruited by Tom Dixon to work for Habitat in London and later go on to run my own business in Shanghai working with retail brands around the world - well - I would have said you are coocoo! I don't think we can plan our lives, all we can do is set some short, medium and long term goals, work towards them and see where life takes us.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I walk around the apartment when I brush my teeth.

What product or event inspired you to be a designer?
I stumbled upon Industrial Design by accident. It's only when I discovered early Italian design classics like the Brionvega TVs, Gaetano Pesce furniture and Olivetti products that I got really hooked!

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
Velcro! It's a brilliant idea and as a bonus I would be minted!

 


Rob Scarlett

Rob Scarlett - Furniture Designer

Scarlett Design is a London based design and development studio focusing on domestic furniture that offers your company the opportunity to deliver well conceived, beautifully proportioned and above all, commercial products to the market place.

I met Rob through my work with Kirsty Whyte, and recently we were both judges as part of NEW DESIGN BRITAIN 2015.

Website - scarlettdesignuk.com

If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
Grappling hook. It would be cool to climb into all the old buildings in London and have a nose around. I'd probably be a bit like Jeff Bridges in the Fisher King.

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
Quite a lot really. Mainly in the sense of taking opportunities when presented. Luck is always going to play a part but hard work, persistence and developing relationships are key to being successful. When we eventually work together Paul it'll be because of those things. :)

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I think my strength is that I'm able to present myself in the way the client will best respond to. I suppose that makes me a bit of an all rounder. More specifically I find that clients are surprised by the strength of my hand sketched renderings. More and more designers are going straight into a 3D modelling package rather than developing the idea on paper first. I use computer modelling a lot myself but I like to really work through the idea first because the computer can be a little restrictive sometimes.

What product or event inspired you to be a designer?
There was no one thing really. I was only ever inspired by Art & Design and fortunately my parents were really supportive. I made a desk when I was at High School and that was it really, I just liked the mixture of problem solving with aesthetics.

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
The paper clip!!!! I'm only half joking, but it would be great to be the designer of something that people go 'of course, why didn't I think of that'.

If you forced me to pick one piece of furniture it would be the Seal chair by Kofod Larsen. Stunning mid century easy chair. It kind of makes me just want to give up though!!!

Wait! Can I have 2. I've recently been getting into metal furniture and think this industrial chair by Friso Kramer is almost perfect.

If I were to be any designer though it would Hans Wegner. That guy was just perfect!

 


Sophie Ralli

Sophie Ralli - Ceramics Designer

I met Sophie when I exhibited with Kirsty Whyte in Milan 2010 as part of Hidden Art. I was impressed with her talent, and it's been great seeing her brand grow from strength to strength in a very short space of time.

London based studio Ralli Design was formed by brother and sister Louis and Sophie Ralli in 2009 after graduating from Central Saint Martins, London, where they specialised in product and ceramic design.

Website - rallidesign.com

If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
If I was a action figure, my accessory would be a compass. It is the tool I cannot live without as a designer. No matter what I am designing the circle is the shape that I come back to again and again. Obviously it would be a really amazing compass with loads of other mind blowing features...

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
When my brother Louis and I set up Ralli Design we knew what we wanted to achieve but not how to do it. Our path so far has been shaped by seeking lots of advice from industry people and being open to different opportunities. As a result, our original goals for the company have evolved and changed for the better along the way. Persistence and optimism are two powerful tools we do have control over and they have been integral to Ralli Design's progression.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I know that many contemporary product designers use computers as their main tool when designing. My initial approach is much more old school and rudimentary. I churn out thousand of pages drawings and Blue Peter style models made from anything I can get my hands on (usually from the recycling bin). Once I have settled on the final idea and the office is littered with little creations, only then will I turn to the computer!

What product or event inspired you to be a designer?
In high school we were lucky enough to design and make our own radios in Design Technology (my favourite class) and I fell in love the whole process. My passion for design was later confirmed on my art foundation course at Central Saint Martins.

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
In the early 1960’s Robert Welch designed a stainless steel tea set for Old Hall's Alveston Range, I would have loved to be responsible for this beautiful design.

 


Duncan Bull

Duncan Bull - Case Furniture

Duncan is part of CASE, and I met Duncan via Sean Dare and Kirsty Whyte during Milan 2010, and I make a point of always visiting their stand at Fairs and Exhibitions for a catch up and to see their new products.

"CASE is dedicated to delivering exceptional contemporary design at good value. Working with world-renowned award-winning designers, CASE is a vanguard of creativity and creates furniture that is modern, with integrity and character. With an exemplary attention to detail, the highest standards and never compromising on quality, CASE use the foremost manufacturing techniques to deliver innovation, efficiency and affordability to a discerning audience."

Website - casefurniture.com

If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
It would have to be a multi tool! scissors, screwdrivers, knife etc what more could you need!

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
I think it is very hard to say whether I have controlled the course of my design life or if design has controlled my life. Joining Case Furniture in the very early days and being involved in growing the company has been a great experience and offered interesting challenges along the way. I couldn’t be happier designing / developing and problem solving.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
Hmm! I am a very focused person so I do tend to get very involved in projects both in and out of work - I believe that if something is worth doing then you have to do it to the best of all your abilities even if it is something that you are unfamiliar with - there is always time to learn!

What product or event inspired you to be a designer/work in the design industry?
From a young age I used to visit my neighbour who is a wonderful woman and mildly eccentric, but she had a great workshop in one of her many sheds and with her nephew and niece we used to create everything from summerhouses to crazy contraptions for solving everyday problems. This and starting to study silversmithry from the age of about 15.

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
Oh this is a hard one to answer, but I would have to go for the Staedler Mars Technico 780 Mechanical pencil - a trustworthy drawing tool that I always have on me, not sure what I would do without it to be honest!


Johanna Schmidt

Johanna Schmidt - Furniture Designer

I worked with Johanna on a number of developments at Habitat, and since then she has gone on to design pieces for NEXT and BHS.

If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
The first thing that comes to mind is a pen with which it will be possible to draw and develop all accessories needed in all possible dangerous occasions. Second thought is a giant Lego box that could be used to build everything imaginable.

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
I have tried different design fields out after uni and was lucky getting interesting projects. However, I found my niche quite late after years went past. But I guess that's the challenge and interesting part of life.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I still draw a lot and develop products through this tool first instead of going 3D straight away. I believe it is quicker and gives you more creative freedom.

What product or event inspired you to be a designer/work in the design industry?
I loved the Austrian designer, artist and architect Hundertwasser. He opened my eyes as a child that things that we perceive as normal could look and function very differently.

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
I would like to have designed the film set of the latest Anna Karenina movie.

 


Steuart Padwick

Steuart Padwick - Made - Furniture Designer

I met Steuart when I was at MADE and it was a pleasure working with him on a number of designs that came to define the company. The Fonteyn Desk was clearly a special piece when we saw the first sketches, and went on to become a bestseller and receive a Design Guild Award.

Website - steuartpadwick.co.uk

If they were to make an action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
Anything to enable me to fly – I used to do a lot of paragliding and miss it a lot.

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
Very little – I have never made strategic plans for my career.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I am very very inefficient, I faff about a lot before reaching a design. Maybe the legs I play with are often different.

What product or event inspired you to be a designer?
There wasn’t one. I just always made things as a kid, and it was inevitable I would end up designing and making things.

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
I would love to go back as Charles and Ray Eames and have designed almost any of their products, but my all time favourite piece is the RAR rocker.

 


Claire Norcross

Claire Norcross - Lighting Designer - Habitat

I worked with Claire at Habitat, and it was immediately clear that she was exceptionally talented. I vividly remember the first time I saw the cardboard model of the Ribbon light, and knew it was something very special.

Website - clairenorcross.co.uk

If they were to make an action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
I think it would be some kind of torch or light beam!

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
Hmmm good question and admittedly I feel that I have, until relatively recently, allowed my design life to unfold and respond to different projects as they come along. However, having experienced these different projects, from educational projects, to having my own business and designing for high street stores, I now have a greater understanding and awareness of what my skills are and where I feel best placed (and happiest!) in this wonderful world of design.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I have almost come to lighting design quite accidently. My approach to lighting is very much about the effect of light on materials. I take my inspiration mostly from the natural world, looking at plant forms and the structures found within in nature. I then look to find the material or technique which feels the most appropriate.

What product or event inspired you to be a designer?
I remember being at Glastonbury and looking at the installations and lights within the tents and stages and thinking that I really wanted to be involved in something like that!

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
I’m interested in structure, so I think it would probably be a building rather than a product, perhaps something like the Spaceship Earth ball of the Epcot Centre or the Matrimadir temple in Pondicherry, India. Or perhaps a Yurt, beautiful structures!


Nick Kemp

Nick Kemp - Ceramics Designer - Marks & Spencer

If they were to make an action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
A magic wand. I’ve been using one for a while now. It’s more exciting than the verniers that are always on my desk.

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
I’m always looking for a new path, the best adventures are always the unplanned ones.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I can see a use in things that other people would discard. Designers are usually good reconfigurators

What product or event inspired you to be a designer?
My first tool chest and I had my first design printed on 200 T shirts as a cub scout.
There’s always a thrill in seeing someone own one of your designs. Nathan have you still got that tattoo?

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
André Jacob Roubo and his 17C workbench, it remains the template for a workbench. It’s strong, no frills and built for work.

Next time you’re out shopping in a uber trendy fashion store, stop and have a look under the clothes on display and think what artisans have made on that benchtop.

 


Lodovico Bernardi

Lodovico Bernardi - Furniture Designer - Made - Shanghai

I met Lodo while working at MADE. He was one of the very first employees and moved to Shanghai to help speed up the development process. He helped develop a number of key ranges, and has since left the company to develop products for a host of other brands.

Website - lodovicobernardi.com

If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
ahah.. wheels! I like to travel

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
I have always been involved is design related issues since at early age I started to work on my father own family business wood workshop. Since there my path has taken the direction that now I can see naturally developed after many years of experience in the field thanks to collaboration with design office, companies and recently my own design activity.

Looking back to this path that looks like a destiny somehow, something that I have inherited from family and that I have just brought ahead.

This is a macroscopic view, if I have to look into the microscopic, design for me is partially creative but entrepreneurial too. Business must be flexible to adapt to market needs and trends too, but not only, it’s even about the people you meet, the experiences, feelings and friends one has.

Mixing these ingredients up all together is what have driven me so far.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
Generally speaking I like to have different vision or let’s say a personal vision. I like to see things in my own way and discuss, criticise these things. I believe that best doesn’t exist but I believe better or worse exist.

So I tend to destroy and then rebuild what I have in front of me (ideas or products). But when I rebuild, for sure I am more sure what I have in front of me. Especially, I can decide whether to include everything, add or subtract parts. Let’s call it controlled reconstruction, to produce the better.

This I guess is “different”.

What product or event inspired you to be a designer?
As mentioned previously, my passion for design comes entirely from my family background, afterwards when I started to discover more, passion for this work has been growing day after day, and the more I discover the more I get passionate. Design is nourished by curiosity.

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
Well, there are so many items that I love, it is difficult for me to synthesize. If I really have to say one I’d go for the late ‘70s Porsche 911, love that! but that’s because I saw it yesterday and it’s the first image in my head at the moment. I am sure it will not go away soon.


Lisa Sandall

Lisa Sandall - Ercol - Furniture Designer

I met Lisa via the partnership between M&S and ERCOL and we have worked together on a number of projects. She recently won the converted DESIGN GUILD MARK for the SVELTO, which will go on to become another design classic within the ERCOL range.

If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
I think I'd come as part of a toy dairy farm, complete with Wellington boots, and accessorised with a cup of green tea, and a notebook with a mechanical pencil.

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
Of course it's impossible to control the course of any aspect of your life, but I think I took steps to increase my chances of getting my foot on the ladder to a career in design.

I chose a degree course which included a year in industry. This was the most valuable year of my degree. I learnt so much from being in studios, working on real products, producing presentations, for real retailers and getting real responses.

Then, once I finished my degree I didn't wait for my ideal job to present itself; I wrote to several companies who I'd love to work for expressing my interest. Ercol kept my CV on file, and almost 2 years later, whilst I was working as a lighting designer for a high street supplier, Ercol got back in touch inviting me to come for an interview.

Once you are working for a company of course you surrender some control of your design life to them; they set your briefs, and you must work with the companies manufacturing strengths and heritage in mind. The challenge, and what I really enjoy is to add your own stamp, and keep the ideas fresh and moving forward.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I like chocolate best when it melts easily on your fingers. But I like cheese to be cold from the fridge. I'm told that's the wrong way around.

Design-wise I like to imagine the type of home the range I'm working on is destined to end up in, rather than focusing solely on the individual products, particularly during that daydreamy early sketching stage.

I also believe the best designs come from a collaborative approach. I don't presume to know the best way to make everything I design. The craftspeople around me at Ercol have a vast many more years of combined furniture making experience and if I have what I consider to be good idea I'll seek their advice. Often there is a fairly straightforward solution- although sometimes it takes a little head scratching and a few good nights sleep for the best solution to become apparent. But there is always a way, and this collaboration allows us to keep pushing ahead with new ideas.

What product or event inspired you to be a designer/work in the design industry?
No one event; my childhood influences led me that way I suppose.

My father works on a lathe, my aunt and uncle are upholsterers, my fathers father made walking sticks and most of the furniture in his home. I was surrounded by production and creativity on one side of the family. And I spent weekends and evenings with my brother and cousins on my mothers side of the family, on their dairy farm, building dens, tree platforms, sledges, dry stone walls and damming up streams. We had a lot of opportunity to experiment and build things.

I wanted to find a career that incorporated my childhood love of sketching; I used to say I wanted to be a draw-er, not an artist which eventually led me to study design.

I remember my first A-level product design brief- a Memphis inspired piece of flat pack furniture. It was a perfect introduction to furniture; freedom to experiment with form, colour, and pattern with the challenge of engineering a method of putting the product together. I guess from then I was hooked.

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
There's so many products out there that I'm envious of, products I'd love to have been involved in.

Off the top of my head, one of these is the String system by Nisse Strinning. To come up with something that is so functional, customisable, and expandable, that can be adapted to work in so many different applications and environments, and that still manages to look good in every one of them - that's the dream.

 


Lucio Longoni 

Lucio Longoni - Furniture Buyer

I met Lucio during his time at Heals via Kirsty Whyte, and since then he has soared up the career ladder by becoming Head Of Buying at Skandium.

If they were to make an action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
A mobile phone which transported me anywhere in the world instantly with a click of a button.

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
I feel I have completely controlled the course of my design life so far. At times I have had to choose to compromise in order to learn, grow and progress, whilst also knowing when not to compromise and to stick to with my intuition. You are in control of your own destiny. The journey AND destination are equally important in getting you where you want to be.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I’m always thinking ahead. In some respects this is very important and keeps me questioning how and what is next? As I've grown older I've realised it is equally important to value and appreciate the here and now as you never know what's around the corner.

What product or event inspired you to be a designer?
Growing up I traveled a lot and lived somewhat a transatlantic lifestyle. Chicago has been my second home since the age of 7. A great city of modernist architecture including some of the finest deco & mid century architecture by the likes of Mies Van Der Rohe and not to mention Illinois being the home of the great Frank Lloyd Wright. This combined with a family who's philosophy on design was good design should be available to all, were the main reasons for my chosen career path.

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
Anything by Jean Prouve or Alvar Aalto, at the moment I am obsessed with the Artek tea trolly. The design is fun, practical and diverse combining mixed materials with function, solution and timeless style.

 


Steve Olds

Steve Olds - Westbridge - Sofa Designer

During my M&S career, I was fortunate that team structure changed and I was able to look after Upholstery as well as Cabinet Furniture. As part of this process I met Steve who is the designer of a number of our best selling Upholstery Ranges.

If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
Paul you said was an ‘interview’ not a MENSA test! Not exactly sure, but it would have to be fun and creative…perhaps a magic wand.

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your design life has taken?
A fair amount but certainly not entirely. Devotion and a degree of sacrifice are always important in making sure you are in the best position to take chances when they became available, but you always need good luck and good timing.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
Design furniture manufactured by various factories for retailers as diverse as Tesco to Harrods.

What product or event inspired you to be a designer/work in the design industry?
I grew up in an area renowned for design and manufacturing, plus my education encouraged and invested in it. My family also had various artisan skills as professions. Both factors combined I guess.

If you could go back in time and become the designer of any existing item, what would you choose?
Aston Martin DB5, from Goldfinger.