I am fascinated by how things are made, so I was very excited to see X3 at Super Brands London as part of this year’s London Design Festival. London-based branding and graphic design studio Creative Research and Development commissioned three furniture designers to each make a chair. They were given six hours, the same tools and materials and a goldfish bowl of a workshop around which crowds gathered to watch their progress.
Sam Weller was the first designer. Sam has studied typography, industrial design and most recently product design at the RCA under Sebastian Wrong. His work has been exhibited all over Europe and he now runs his own studio in London. Sam just finished his chair on time, frantically putting the final wax on in the last few minutes.
Norwegian born Alex Hellum was up next. Another RCA graduate, he has designed for Heals, Thorsten Van Elten and Ercol. He describes his design ethos as being based on observation, utility and honest use of materials. Of the X3 experience he said: “I sat in my chair at four minutes past 7pm and it didn’t break! It was a really good feeling and a great experience pushing my ‘bodging’ skills to the limit.”
And finally Jack Smith, one half of design duo SmithMatthias. Also an RCA graduate, Jack did his BA at Sheffiled Hallam University and is now based in London’s Battersea with Gemma Matthias.
From an identical brief and identical tools and materials emerged three quite different chairs, each of which is now being auctioned on eBay to raise money for a charity called UK Youth whch helps young people to access ‘non-formal learning opportunities’ including woodwork, carpentry and other hands-on design skills.