Douglas James – designer.
“From the moment I sat in my high chair, I knew I was destined to design furniture…” says Douglas James with a cheeky grin.
He’s joking of course, “I wish there was a better story behind it” says the designer of our latest Designer Edition. “DT and Art were always my favourite subjects at school and at A level I created a piece of furniture using recycled objects and materials and, since then, I’ve never looked back.”
James’ approach to design is all about aesthetics, simplicity and, when necessary, comfort. “When you’re designing a chair, you already know its function” he says. “To me, design is about pushing boundaries and innovation. A little quote I like to base my designs around is ‘Why design something that already exists’. Furniture design isn’t going to evolve and develop if everyone is producing the same old safe stuff.”
Asking James about his design heroes throws up an interesting reply. Of course, he can reel off a list of great names but it’s his recognition for who he doesn’t want to be that creates an interesting point. “He is the designer I don’t want to be; arrogant, self loathing, consistently designs terrible products and a juxtaposition to himself.” We won’t disclose who, exactly he’s talking about, but the point here is that he’s living proof that knowing who you don’t want to be, is just as important as know who you hold in high regard to be able to steer yourself in the right direction.
James’ Designer Edition, the Kolding coffee table, mirrors his confident approach with confident design. “Having never had the opportunity to design using marble, I identified early on that this was one of the materials I wanted to design with.” Also eager not to use adhesive, the design cleverly uses a nut and bolt inspired fixing that beautifully combines the marble and wood for an on-trend statement piece.
While having respect for traditional craft, James sees this more as having shaped where we are now as opposed to how he designs his furniture. “I’m more into the modern making techniques. I like the accuracy and speed that things can be produced.” Having said that, he admits; “Some of the best inspiration and design ingenuity I have seen has come from developing countries. There, they don’t have the option to throw something away – it has to be fixed. Everything is reused and some of the inventions and re-application of items are inspired. They’re designers in their own right and they don’t even know it!”
Douglas James is the furniture designer behind the Kolding coffee table, check it out here.