The power of a good chair. King Living’s David Hardwick on 2019’s style trends
The leading furniture brand’s head of product on the enduring benefits of a well-designed chair
David, tell us something you’ve seen recently that has inspired you?
I recently attended the Salone del Mobile in Milan. B&B Italia were celebrating the 50th birthday of the iconic Up 50 chair and ottoman. This chair encapsulates all the ingredients of great design — unique yet still highly relatable with its anthropomorphic-inspired form and innovative production technique that pioneered the use of moulded foams. This was in its infancy in the late 1960s when the chair was first released.
Is there a piece of furniture you feel is dominating trends this year?
Occasional chairs generally have dominated my interest. They can be such important pieces in a room and the value of a truly beautiful and comfortable chair can’t be underestimated. They allow for a greater range of materiality to be brought into a piece, combining natural elements such as soft moulded timber or metal components juxtaposed against luxurious soft upholstery. You can also take a bolder approach to covering by utilising patterns or bold colours.
Describe your professional style and ethic. What’s your approach to designing pieces of furniture?
As a designer you have a great responsibility not to “just add to the mess”. So much furniture is developed, manufactured and discarded each year on account of poor quality, functional obsolescence, or changes in trends. At the heart of the King design ethos is to produce high-quality furniture built to last, timeless in style but to also have a unique quality about it, whether it be form or function, to ensure there’s a strong argument for its reason for being. The customer is always at the core of our design discussions and decisions are made around what the tangible benefits are for our customers.
What is it your customers are wanting right now?
Traditionally King has been known as a designer and manufacturer of great sofas, yet now we’re seeing a great appetite for our new furniture categories. We’ve just released a new lighting range, Solifiore, which has been developed in house and also in collaboration with Australian designer Charles Wilson. A new range of rugs has also been very popular, with a focus on great colours and textures that have been developed specifically to work with our sofa range and fabric and leather colour ranges. Customers are wanting the complete story really and we’re constantly developing product in these categories to fulfil the demand.
Tell us about a project you’ve been working on?
We’re working on a new modular sofa concept inspired by some of the early modular sofas King was producing in the 1980s. We are also gearing up for the official release of the ETO desk and table series. ETO is a unified desk designed to appropriately consider how people work today. It is the first desk in the world to offer interchangeable lighting and charging accessories, and considers how people truly work and live. The ETO desk integrates power, wireless charging and lighting seamlessly into one sophisticated minimal design allowing people to truly customise the table to suit their needs.