REFINED TASTES

Leg­endary fur­ni­ture de­signer Matthew Hil­ton talks about his lat­est project for SCP and his be­lief in that most Bri­tish of char­ac­ter traits: per­sis­tence

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Style The Britlist -

‘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).

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