DESIGN UNDEFINED: Q&A WITH SAMUEL WILKINSON

Design Undefined: Samuel Wilkinson

Industrial designer Samuel Wilkinson embodies the philosophies at the very core of both Design Undefined and Clerkenwell London. His commitment to honest materials, high-quality production and innovation in design is reflected in the highly functional, yet consistently elegant, form of everything he creates.

From stationery to lighting, and chairs to watches, Samuel’s work has received critical acclaim from across the design industry and press and we are incredibly excited to have him exhibiting as part of Design Undefined during The London Design Festival.

Samuel will showcase a new chair, Brace, and a new watch collection, Line. As he prepares to take over The Keep, we asked the designer to tell us a little more about his latest designs.

Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind Brace?
I have been interested in steam-bending wood for many years so this show presented a great opportunity to produce my first steam-bent piece. We are producing a new chair that hopefully really shows off the tactility and craftsmanship of this beautiful technique.

Steam-bending wood is a traditional process steeped in history. It is low energy, ecological and a truly economical method for manipulating wood as it has a reduced scrap rate as smaller pieces can be bent into shape rather than machine from larger blocks. The process is becoming more and more expensive as it’s still quite handmade so there are only a small number of manufacturers who can produce products on any
scale, and these are still expensive due to rising labour costs.

The name Brace derives from the inspiration for the design coming from the traditional arch bracing used for many classic steam-bent designs. An “arch brace” is a curved piece of wood that acts as a secondary fixing to help to improve the structure. The Brace chair echoes this support but the structure does without the original cross structure to make it lighter and leaner.

How did you design the Line collection?
Line is a collection created as an extension of the Nomad range. Following the successful first collection, Mòltair, which introduced a casual reference to time through the use of bold iconic graphical hands and removal of all markings, the new watches are the quite the opposite.

Line timepieces are designed as precise tools for measuring time while retaining a playful edge. Each face features typical numerical, minute and hour markings but rearranged in new compositions to add a fresh contemporary look.

Inline moves all the markings towards the centre of the dial, leaving a clean outer band. Numbers 12, 3, 6, 9 combine with the interplay of positioning and line weight of the hour and minute increments.

Outline combines hour markings and all twelve numbers away from the edge of the dial, setting them within an array of elongated minute increments.

Both watches have only hour and minute hand to produce a clean, clutter-free face. The series has been carefully considered so that both graphic treatments allow the time to be read accurately at a glance and provide a stylish option for your everyday wristwatch. The series has been updated to include a Swiss movement for greater accuracy and reliability.

What made you want to exhibit at Clerkenwell London?
I have been impressed by the store and its intention to sell carefully selected items that have integrity and material honesty.

Find Samuel’s latest creations in The Keep for the duration of The London Design Festival, 17, 19 – 24 September.

Join us on 19 September at Design Undefined #2 LDF2016 Welcome Party with Cointreau – Enjoy music and Cointreau Fizz cocktails as we champion designers and products that challenge conventional thinking. Limited tickets available.

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