Where it all began for Stevo | Part 1
My passion for furniture started with a rather embarrassing moment during a furniture lecture, where I was made to sit in a chair, which was on top of a table, in front of the class.
Winding back a few years, I started my working life as an apprentice aerospace engineer at GKN Westland Aerospace. A 4-year technical apprenticeship alongside studying for my HNC in Design Engineering was (as I now realise) an incredible foundation for me to build on. After my apprenticeship, I was assigned to the design office to work on civil and military aviation projects both gaining experience in both carbon composite and bonded aluminium structures.
After a couple of years, I decided to stretch my wings and imagination and go to university. Rather than continue with engineering, I wanted to broaden my horizons and opportunities and study a general design degree, which covered product and industrial design, furniture and secondary education.
As I say this is where it all began.
The lecturer, Stuart Mason was the man responsible. He was obsessed with the Rietveld Red and Blue chair and had made one himself. His chair was sat on the table at the front of the lecture theatre.
The lecture started with him pointing at me and asking
“what do you think of this chair?”
My response was
“It looks uncomfortable”
He then beckoned me to come and sit in the chair…
“No leave it on the table…” he said
I was made to sit in the chair, on top of the table…yes I felt a bit of a berk!
Stuart Mason, the lecturer, then completely ignored me and continued talking to the rest of the class whilst I sat there contemplating my next, hopefully more intelligent, contribution…It was at this point I realised I had never really given any thought to the furniture which we all interact with every day of our lives. It was like someone opening a door to a new world, I became obsessed…(I was surprised, it wasn’t as uncomfortable as it looked).
The lecture focused on iconic 20th century furniture, especially chairs. The brief was to investigate iconic chairs and pick one to study in detail. So, after a trip to the Design Museum and the V&A I found a purity of design with Alvar Aalto’s work which I liked and decided to focus on the 406 chair.
Little did we know that later in the semester we were going to make a full-size replica of our chosen chairs. This was the first piece of furniture I made…it was a very steep learning curve, which I loved and the start of my future career in furniture.
To be continued…