It's no secret that when it comes to retail therapy, the Simon James Concept Store in Herne Bay is a favourite of mine. Homeware from their beautifully curated online store frequently feature on the T.D.C product round-ups and wishlists. The store however is just one arm of the business, with NZ designer Simon James continually developing and manufacturing his own line of furniture for both the residential and commercial market. With a strong emphasis on function and attention to detail, his furniture sits alongside a carefully selected range of products from leading names in international design, as well as local design talent.
Simon has recently released a new collection which includes three exquisite sofas. Blown away by the beautiful clean lines and innovative design, I had a few questions which Simon has kindly answered for us today.
I'd love to understand a bit more about the design process. What is the starting point for each new piece? Where do you draw inspiration from?
With regards to the three new sofa designs the starting point came from finding a single common element we could design three quite different sofas around. In this case it’s the arm and back detail. These three sofas were all designed with the home in mind. There is no overload on cushions, just enough to keep the seating refined and comfortable.
The new lounge chair was an extension of an existing design called the Felix chair. This was partly driven by listening to clients who liked the design but wanted something that had a larger footprint. We also included a full upholstered option called the Argo which was our interpretation on an executive chair for a breakout space.
Felix Lounge Chair
How long does it take to produce each new piece of furniture? Where are they manufactured?
The process can vary depending on the product. In this case some of these items have been on the drawing board for 18 months and others for eight months. All ideas still start with pencil and paper, from here we take the design through a rendering programme to understand its proportion better, before we start on the first round of prototyping. We had several designs tracking well through sampling so made the decision to release these in one hit. These items are all proudly produced in New Zealand.
Is the collection also aimed at the overseas market?
Under the Simon James brand we design product for the New Zealand and Australian market.
The sofas are all beautiful but quite different in terms of design. Can you tell us a bit more about each one, their versatility in terms of configurations, fabrics, colours etc?
The three new sofas are fully modular which was part of the brief from the outset, so there are a multitude of configuration options to choose from. Because we make to order there are not too many restrictions around fabric or colour as long as the fabric is suitable for upholstery on the particular form.