Clerkenwell Design Week is an annual opportunity for designers to showcase their most innovative and progressive work to a captive audience of industry professionals and design tourists. Benjamin Hubert is a designer who consistently fronts the wave of young, British designers using new materials and technological developments to bring improved function and quality of life to users and consumers.
In addition to launching GO, Benjamin and Layer are refurnishing Clerkenwell London’s Vinyl Lounge with an exclusive selection of their latest works, including collaborations with world-renowned Italian furniture maker Moroso, ceramics brands Bitossi Ceramiche, lighting purveyors FontanaArte and accessories specialists NAVA. We caught up with Benjamin as he and the Layer team prepare for a thoughtprovoking week in vibrant Clerkenwell.
What research did you conduct to ensure that GO would maximise the potential of a wheelchair redesign?
Most of it was interviews and focus groups of wheelchair users. This helped us to get a sense of what they need and the problems people face on a daily basis. Throughout the process we maintained a constant dialogue between designers and wheelchair users. We also spoke to medical professionals to uncover more difficulties and challenges and find opportunities to improve things with design. Research combined with valuable insight is key.
You are refurnishing the Vinyl Lounge at Clerkenwell London, what themes do your furniture designs represent?
Generally speaking a lot of our furniture work is about materials research. In the Vinyl Lounge we have decided to bring over a lot of the launches we did with Moroso. It will be the UK preview for the new collection. The designs offer a new approach to materials and material combinations. They are visually different and encourage different types of interaction. People will see a colourful and interesting construction that includes a low chair, high chair and screen system.
How do celebrations of design such as Clerkenwell Design Week inspire you?
I think it’s a great opportunity to bring people together. It’s about interaction and seeing how people live their lives. Getting a lot of like minded people in one area is always positive.
What are you most looking forward to at CDW16?
I think actually friends and colleagues that I haven’t seen for a while.