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Old Milan meets New futurism
Villa Borsani – Casa Libera
Beem lamps, Nimbus
Posted on 15.04.2018
Samuel Wilkinson – An interview
This is an interview with a lovely man we met in Milan 3 years ago and now he is showing his latest game-changing designs there. We say ‘game-changing’ with trepidation, but there is no denying he is responsible for one of the most iconic designs of the last decade (the Plumen bulb) and this new led lighting collection for Beem, including one called ‘Smile’ (don’t mind if we do) is set to be another winner.
This guy isn’t loud or showy. He is just bloody good. Perhaps the next Jasper Morrison in the making? Have a read and decide for yourself. You may be surprised by how many of his designs you recognise.
Samuel Wilkinson with his Brace Chair
How did you start out in design?
After graduating I worked part time jobs for a year while applying for jobs. I finally managed to get an internship at Fitch (WPP), after a working there for a few months I realised the need to focus on pure industrial design rather than a brand focused approach. Over the next 4/5years I worked for different consultancies (Pearsonlloyd/Tangerine/Conran) gaining as much experience as possible before starting my own studio
What inspires you?
Whatever project I am working on at the time gives me a focused view to the world so it depends on a current project. Like interesting wooden joints or different ways to manipulate sheet metal etc.
Smile light (led bulbs) by Samuel Wilkinson for Beem
Do you work from your own studio space?
Yes. I have a nice studio in the back of Dalston where I have been for the last year and half. It has the concrete factory style so its nice and industrial.
What is the job of design in this current world we live in?
In my eyes design should enlighten, be clever, well resolved, function well while also being responsible.
How do you connect with colour/materials?
Manipulating manufacturing techniques is very central to my work. Every mass produced object has to go through a number processes to exist so for me I want to understand every step in detail to know where it’s possible to push the boundaries.
Blown pendant for &Tradition by Samuel Wilkinson
How does your design process work?
When starting any project we will research it from every angle to make sure there is clear view of the current market and what space there is for finding something new. Ideation and design development follow which changes from for every project as some requite more model making other more CAD or more material investigation, then you need some time. The best results stand the test of time so I often find its important to step away from a project to see the correct result.
What do you do to relax?
Exercise helps me relax. Currently I am doing a boxing classes to stay sharp!
What’s your favourite song?
I am big electro fan as I used to DJ quite a lot so at the moment it’s Just / Bicep
Three words that describe you?
Approachable, a bit deep but maybe a little stubborn!
Work, life, play – how do you balance them?
This has become a lot more of a balancing act now as I have two young children and design never has an ending point so you have to learn to focus when needed.
Vessel by Samuel Wilkinson
Futurism or classicism?
Futurism, I love heritage / history and think its important understanding the history of any particular object or topic but as a designer I am trying to add new things to the world with a positive futural approach
Art or design?
Both. If I had to choose though it would obviously be design.
Home or away?
I love to travel as that’s always a great way to open the mind but coming home can be equally as exciting
What advice do you have to any new designer?
Always be open to opportunities and constantly teach yourself new things. Also, at the start become really good at one thing to help you stand out!