Interview with a Sofa & Chair Company Designer

The Sofa & Chair Company design and manufacture quality handcrafted furniture from their workshop and showroom in West London. Embracing a definitively British look, they have been nominated 4 times for the International Product Design Awards and are shortly due to release their glamorous new Spring/Summer collection. We spoke to their Senior Designer and Head of their CAD design department about his work, vision and inspiration.

Please introduce yourself:

I am Jonathan Barber, Senior Designer at The Sofa & Chair Company

How would you describe a day’s work in your shoes?

I am responsible for overseeing the design and development of both our product collection and our clients bespoke projects.

Our company is growing at a tremendous rate and so is the demand for new products. Therefore I am constantly working on the development of new ideas and testing new prototypes two seasons ahead of their launch.

Our clients bespoke projects are hugely varied and challenging so my knowledge and experience is always being pushed and developed – rarely do two days ever feel the same!

What is the driving force behind your designs?

I strive to produce designs that are reflective of our time, but I also aspire to have a timeless appeal. I look to use appropriate materials and processes for the correct application thus allowing me to produce designs suitable for use and longevity. This often results in pieces that have a lasting quality and a timeless aesthetic.

Which designers do you admire most? Why?

I admire the work of many great designers such as Achille Castiglioni, Pier Giacomo Castiglionii and John Prouve. They are masters at maximising the full potential of a material’s properties and utilising the most appropriate manufacturing techniques; resulting in beautiful designs that are extremely sympathetic to their purpose.

A favourite example of mine is the combined work of Achille Castiglioni and Pier Giacomo Castiglionii, where they produced the Arco lamp for Flos in 1962. To quote, ‘functional elegance’ sums up this gorgeous timeless design.


What made you choose furniture design?

I studied Product & Furniture Design at Ravensbourne, London. I find designing products and furniture for the home very personal as it is the environment that we create to protect ourselves from the world. Furthermore, these items reflect our personalities, beliefs and aspirations. I find giving meaning and creating an affinity towards inanimate objects fascinating to explore.


How would you describe the British look?

I would describe the ‘British’ look as timeless understated elegance. If asked to describe the ‘London’ look I would say it expresses a more diverse attitude towards design. London is an international capital city that also reflects global cultures and styles.

What is your favourite Sofa & Chair piece? Why?

The Oscar chair is one of my favourite S&C products. It has gorgeous sumptuous proportions and a beautifully tailored deep buttoned exterior that can be admired from every angle thanks to the swivel base. I think this design will be around for quite some time.

Do you have any exciting projects on the horizon?

I’m currently developing the autumn/winter collection and for obvious reasons I cannot say too much other than expect more luxury, fine detailing and indulgence ….

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About the author

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Houke de Kwant is a frontend developer from the Netherlands and the creator of TheArtHunters (former Daily Inspiration, which was started as part of his study).

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