Legendary furniture designer Matthew Hilton talks about his latest project for SCP and his belief in that most British of character traits: persistence
‘I’m not very interested in minimalism – really stripping things down – but I am interested in refinement,’ says British designer Matthew Hilton when describing the thought process behind his latest design: the ‘Miles’ modular sofa system for SCP (above, from £4,868). In fact, that’s a design ethos that has characterised Hilton’s work since he began his career in the 1980s, designing for companies such as Driade, XO and SCP, and making a name for himself creating now iconic pieces such as the ‘Balzac’ armchair, a curvaceous take on the classic club chair that’s still in production today. Hilton describes himself as persistent: ‘If I want to make something work, I find it difficult to give up on it,’ he says. It’s a quality that has served him well. One of his most successful designs, the ‘Light’ table ( below) created for Portuguese furniture brand De La Espada, is a feat of engineering which required perseverence. ‘I know the interest of this piece is that you think it shouldn’t stand up, because it looks impossible – it looks as if, structurally, it shouldn’t work,’ he says.
Today, enter Hilton’s Brixton studio, which he shares with his two long-time assistants, Harry and David, and there’s a peaceful sense of productivity: rock music is playing on the radio and, on the walls, there are drawings and renders of all the new projects in development for Hilton’s fleet of faithful clients – including Case Furniture, Linley and more. ‘I enjoy work more than I ever have,’ he says. ‘I work much harder... I’m taking it far more seriously and really trying to make the most of the working time I’ve got left.’ At the pace Hilton is going, there’s a lot more to come from this Brit (matthewhilton.com).