Daniel Schofield, the designer of our new Backer Chair, has featured in this months edition of ON OFFICE magazine. The magazine also interviewed Paul Tanner, our MD, about the experience of working with Daniel.
What was it like collaborating with Daniel?
I’ve been friends with Daniel for a while, having met him on the design circuit, and this is the first time I’ve worked with him. We knew we wanted an oak dining chair, and we started off with an initial sketch we found in one of his sketchbooks. This then turned into a rough and ready prototype for Hayche, which we used to get a sense of comfort and ergonomics.
Daniel tweaked the design and we then actioned a 3D scale print before requesting our supplier to start prototyping, to allow us to iron out the details at a very early stage, and also to steer the design ourselves rather than allow the supplier to dictate it – as suppliers like to make a product as easily as possible and will often dilute design ideas if they can. We like our suppliers to mass produce a resolved design.
What do you think of the Backer chair and how it sits within Hayche's portfolio?
We are all really pleased with the final design. We have the two prototypes in our window of our Clerkenwell showroom and it’s encouraged a lot of people to knock on the door and come in. We’ve started to look at adding more colours and more upholstered seat options to the range already based upon early feedback. We have also started talking to Daniel about growing the chair design into a family of products, with tables, lounge chairs and storage being future editions. It sits well within our range. It gives us a different handwriting but matches our ethos and brand values.
What do you make of Daniel as a designer?
I think he is one of the best I have worked with. He understands mass production, he is quick with models and technical drawings, and he is very hands on. A year ago, we worked with a London-based prototyper for the first MDF and plywood mock-up and Daniel was a driving force in this meeting. Recently Daniel joined our team in Italy at the factory to work on the final version, steering the team and factory owner there until the design was just right.
I get the sense that he has a natural and perhaps physical reaction to good and bad design details and has a very visible and immediate sense of right and wrong when critiquing a design. I have worked with designers who dwell on a piece, sometimes weeks of living with a product, but Daniel gets close to the final design from his initial drawing, and then can steer the final prototype in real-time to the mass-produced version.